Sunday, October 30, 2011

When did I start liking pie?

Ok. First of all, check out this super awesome sign. Seen at Apple Hill. For those of you with terrible eyes, it says "NOT A THROUGH ROAD." Below that, a man-made sign, says "YOUR GPS IS WRONG."
Anyhow, that sign just cracked us up. The lack of apples at Apple Hill, not so funny. Boo, weather.
Not that something like a lack of apples could REALLY keep Zach from getting some pie. So I made pie pops (future post, just realized I didn't write about that yet).
So we had some extra pie crust left after the pie pops, so I made Zach a personal pie in one of our Ramakins (THANK YOU MELISSA!) and then applied my fancy lattice-making (just learned) skills to the top.  I'm really not that amazing or anything, I learned it at They should sponsor me for all the references I make to their blog!  So seriously, my first pies were a homemade crust, which was totally flaky. Since making thist first one, my mom told me to substitute half the water for vodka, which dries up during baking to aid in the flakiness.

This particular variety is strawberry apple, dreamt up and mixed by Mr. D himself. Also consumed by him. And loved by him.  I have since made more apple pie creations and developed a love for it myself. More posts on that to come. Apples and apples and more apples.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Oops I baked them again!

I had intended to shrink my apple heads a little at a time, like an hour in the oven (at 100) then sitting in there with the door closed. Then I turned on the oven, went to work, finished work, took a shower, got taken on a lunch date, came home...and noticed the oven.
Shrunken-ness complete!  

Now the dilemma is where / how to put them up. Right now they are chillin' in a jar on the table, held in place by some lemons. Zach wants to hang them outside for trick-or-treaters, but I'm not sure if we can figure out where...we have the world's smallest porch!  Maybe if I put a TV stand outside against the side of the porch...and a pumpkin!! Ooh, inspired! Generally, I don't like to make a big deal out of Halloween, but I think we might have a lot of kids in our neighborhood of apartments, and since we are the ONLY house, I kind of wanted to do something -- at least to NOT be the corner house with all their lights off.  We'll see, I suppose!  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Last days of Summer

Hey! So as it turns out, I am capable of posting about non-food, non-decor.  Zach and I recently got bicycles as a late wedding gift.  They are AWESOME!  After a minor blowout / trip to get a new tire tube / why the heck does a new bike have a flat tire / incident, we were on our way.
We have a bike trail not far from our house going to Shoreline, which is beautiful!!!  Unfortunately, I only have some ride pictures, not the lake.  Now that it is all rainy, I'm not sure when I'll be able to get more pictures, but I'll certainly try!
 Oh yeah! Sexy helmets, yeah?  And below, we bike too slow for our friend Cris so he rollerblades along side.  His wife, Anna, pulls him up and over this partiuclarly bumpy bridge.
 Here I was taking pictures over my shoulder while trying not to fall off my bike. 
Yay for getting a little exercise!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hotel Room Oddities (Part 2)

I'm starting a new post theme on my blog. "Hotel Oddities."  I called this one part 2, because I think the Trouser Press referenced here counts as Part 1.
This TV volume control was discovered at the Embassy Suites in Texas.  It controls the bedroom TV volume.
THIS WAS IN THE BATHROOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Not to mention, the room has obviously been upgraded to new (big!) flat screen TV's.  I can't even begin to fathom how this would work on them. To be honest, I can't even figure out how it would have worked on an older TV.  Why would they even keep this thing installed in the bathroom??!!!  I am totally stumped.  Please, if you can tell me anything about this, please do!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

D-E-C-O-R-A-T-I-N-G again.

Hi again.  So are you sick of decorating posts yet? I hope so, so I can switch back to food.  Also on my last trip to Scotland, (all I do there is work and shop. I should work and work out, but that just doesn't happen.) a card shop was going out of business.  Discounts!  I found some socks that say "Grumpy's Socks" (some readers know who will get those!) and a cute name-engraved ornament for my cousin's daughter, Ella. Ella is a more popular name there so I was stoked to find it!

Ok, so while in the store, I saw these ADORABLE decorated letters.  I was in LOVE.  I drooled over them and left the store. (This was on a Monday.)
By Thursday, I couldn't handle it anymore. I had to have the "D."  I went back and got it, and grabbed the X and O while I was at it.  While realizing in line that I only had a few pounds in my pocket, I had to decide between X and O, or lunch.  Tough decision. Ladies and Gents -- let me tell you -- the cafeteria food (which I would have had to eat if I had gone back w/o getting food at the mall) is bad enough that I put X and O back, and just bought D.  But I consoled myself with the fact that I took pictures, and now I can make these myself, preferably in colors that coordinate better with wherever they will go in the house.

Meanwhile, "D" has found itself in our master bathroom.  I have wanted SOMETHING in there for a while, but when I removed the glass from this frame to paint it, I broke it, then I didn't want to put a print into it on account of shower steam...oh my goodness. This was like a craft 4 months in the making. I decided my letter D would be perfect, and water-resistant as well.
So there you have it. Even Zach approves! And because I really, really like this letter, here is an closeup:
I've done some more decorating around the house as well -- wall o' pictures, to be exact, a project that overtook my fireplace for a good 3 months. I will try to photograph that soon and post it!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Ok, this subject line is a bit of a joke. I know my most frequent readers are wondering - where did all the couponing posts go?  For one, I deleted a lot of the old ones.  Two, I am not really actively couponing at this time. (I know! But how many free toothpastes do I need to get?)  Three, I am already Christmas shopping, including being open to sales and coupon opportunities, so I'm not promising I won't post about them in the future. 

However, I still monitor a few of my favorite sites.  The first and primary one is This is a paid subscription, but very cheap for online-only. Already I have saved probably around $40 at Snapfish in the last 2 months with deals from this site, so that pays for about 5 years or something of online subscriptions. There is a a chat board where wonderful people have answered all my questions about things, and I've traded coupons with folks on there as well.

A second one I will browse from my phone is Collin runs a great site with tons of tips, readers, and information. To be honestly, it is a little overwhelming for me sometimes - the amount of content posted regularly - which is why I scan it for the most recent hottest deals but still use the first link for specific weekly deals at Walgreens, CVS, RiteAid and more. 

A third one I like because I first learned to coupon at Walgreens, is,  When this site was new, it had great Walgreens deals. Now the woman that runs it posts a lot of other non-Walgreens deals, but I still like her write-ups and shopping scenarios for each week.  I would love if an equivalent site for CVS and Rite Aid existed, but they don't. I've toyed with the idea of starting one, but its easily a full time job to run a full-fledged reputable coupon site.  (Although no doubt moneymaking!)

Last but not least, when I think I'm going to buy something online, I got through ebates first. When I first signed up, I got a $10 bonus gift card when I went over $25 in purchases.  They have anywhere from 3%, sometimes up to 20% money back (paid cash to you, quarterly) on online purchases. Amazon isn't included, but Best Buy, Office stores, tons of stuff, I even saw cricut cartridges linked on there.  If you're going to shop online for Christmas, you might want to consider ebates! (PS Click on my referral link and I get $5 when you sign up/qualify. No pressure, but, that is my coffee money and you KNOW I am cranky without my coffee.)

Anyhow, now you can sort out your own deals!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

4th of July Decor

Because this year I was married to a veteran on July 4th, I felt I should do a little somethin' for 4th of July. I got this idea off of one of my favorite blogs, here. I can't find the exact link, so feel free to go over there and read a post, or 20, and then REALLY want to make some themed cupcakes.
The general idea of this door hanging is pretty simple. 1) Buy book at goodwill, or pick one off your shelves.  2) Paint said book with desired decor.  3) Seal paint. (I chose to use mod podge)  4) Hang with ribbon from nail on door.   5) Repeat for other holidays.

So far, its October and this bad boy is still out on the door.  I might try to come up with something new for Christmas, or maybe a fall wreath...if I can get some burlap. I'm just wondering, does anyone else out there do any decorating for the seasons?  I want to get into it - just slightly - not to the point where I have tubs of things dedicated to every season.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Garage Sale Treasures and Decorating for Winter!

I do like fall. I plan to post some pictures of my fall decor (i.e., 1 single wreath...and soon to be some pumpkins, I hope) as soon as I upload them from my camera. But I uploaded these pictures from my phone, and they show that I'm already preparing for Winter decor! (I keep writing "Christmas" and changing it to "Winter" so I can leave everything up into February.) 

The items below have all gotten a nice new shade of vintage white. On the left is a candle holder, given to me by an old roommate (aka left behind by someone else.) In the middle is a tim-like star from the $2.50 section at Target. On the right is a garage saled picture frame, which if you can take a closer look, has a lot of intricate carvings/decor on it.
 Here is a close up of the star. I REALLY like it. I can't wait to use it.
I'm working on ideas for how to incorporate these into my (red brick) mantle. I like my mantle now, (which is not quite like this post had it, I'll have to post a new version).  If you have any ideas, let me know!

Oh, and the frame on the right - I hope to staple some screen mesh to the back and gift it for Christmas as an earring holder!!!!!  (Great idea right?)  Are you gearing up for the holidays?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Food in the UK: Toast Toppers

Hi again. Yes, I am posting about food again. You're welcome, because this post is not about coupons! And if you have taken a look at the re-tagging / labelling I have worked to do on this blog you will be happy to see that there are zero to very few couponing posts remaining, since they bored you all so much.  Warning though, if I have to enter a contest or something, one or two might re-appear. However, with work being so busy and travelling a LOT, I have taken a break on couponing. (Also, I have enough free toothpaste for a year.)
On my last trip to Scotland, I spent my evenings wandering the aisles of Asda (Wal-Mart) and Morrison's, a grocery store.  I was looking for anything interesting or new, or something that might be fun for cooking with that I wouldn't be able to get in the states.
That is when I noticed these gems: Toast Toppers.  The instructions say these bad boys hold enough "toast topper" for 2 slices of toast.  These cans are not small.  I'd say maybe 2/3 of a tomato paste can. The flavors are "Ham and Cheese" and "Mushroom and Bacon."  In the store, I was shocked and awed. While typing this, I am sick to my stomach! I mean that is a SERIOUS amount of toast spread per slice.  Of course I bought one to experiment with, or to save as a white elephant gift.
 Also, this amazing chair sits in a snobby little caviar shop at the London Heathrow airport. I think it is beautiful!!!
 And a little more about the English and their love of toast. Shown below is a holiday gift pack - shortbread cookies, jam, and a toast rack.  A toast rack was a new concept to me my first trip over, but its that white thing that looks like a multi-napkin holder.  Apparently, this allows your toast to cool - individually - without stacking the slices and getting soggy toast. 
I don't really need one of these, because at my house, toast goes from the toaster, to a paper towel, to underneath some cinnamon sugar, and directly into my mouth. No time to cool. No time to get soggy.
Would you use a toast rack, if you had one?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Food, but not about cooking

The other day I was at a friends' house for an impromptu dinner while our husbands played video games. Turns out, this family has an apple tree in their backyard, so the other wife and I decided to try our hand at shrunken heads this year.  I'm not big on Halloween in general, but this is part decorating, part craft, part food, and I really wanted to try it.   We were inspired by, because, lets face it, I get all my ideas from that site.
 Above are Krista's apples. Sorry for the bad quality DROID picture.
Above is my FrankenApple attempt. Well, Frank's hair is spiky and this is more like bangs, so, maybe notsomuch. 
Another side view.

One of mine (again, above) where I tried to give him/her a chin.
I'm not sure I exaggerated all the features enough for them to turn out, but so far I've been treating them to 20 minutes at 100 degrees in the oven every day and then a nice rest in there as the oven cools off.  I will post some updates soon!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Milestones: My first tri-tip

Hi again. Sorry all of my re-blogging posts are about food. But think about my life for a minute. I work. I see my husband. I get on planes. I cook for husband. I go to church. I see friends. I do not take pictures. So really, food adventures are all I've got right now. And after a month of eating out in the UK, I was kind of excited about cooking again. 
So here is my first tri-tip roast. We don't have a BBQ, so I planned to roast it. I scoured the internet for recipes and advice, and finally made up my own solution after reading how much work it could possibly be. This is a malt vinegar and soy sauce (mostly) marinade I made on the stove and marinated for a day or so.
 When I finally baked it, first I baked it for 10 or 15 minutes fat side up. Then I flipped it. Then I agonized for the remaining 40 minutes about overcooking it. Finally, when the internal temperature was 128 (per one blog) I let it rest for 5 or 10 minutes, then wrapped it in foil for another 10 or so while we waited for our dinner company to arrive.

Then I had to check with said dinner company the proper way to slice this. The slices are a little fat, but you can see we managed to achieve medium rare!! WOO HOO!!! 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Yum: Parchment Paper Salmon

Okay, so seriously. How many blogger friends are NOT using the new editing feature? I upload most of my phone photos (and camera, when the pics are random and being "saved" for a blog) to Picasa. Now it is so, so easy to just bring those in (in order!) to the blog. Love it.

So we had our good friends over for dinner, and I wanted to make salmon. Also, not pesto salmon, which is my only salmon dish I can make. So I resorted to looking at my 70's era "Salmon Recipes" garage sale cookbook and found parchment paper salmon.
Turns out this recipe is not "so easy" seeing as how you have to blanch the veggies (read: chop, boil, dry) in advance and such. But, we had a great time each making our own parchment package with our desired veggies, lemon slices, etc.
No really, zoom into that previous picture and look at all that tastiness in there. Here is what sold me on the parchment salmon: "The best part is, if you overcook the salmon, it does not dry out, because the steam cannot escape."  SOLD!

The after:
 Before stuffing our face with all that salmon:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Homemade Bagels: How to really appreciate Noah's (and even Safeway)

Whoa...just figured out a waaaay better way to put pictures in! Nice. Okay, so bagels are pretty much my favorite breakfast.  So I thought - homemade bagels - must be even better, right? And I am ashamed to admit, on a night at home, I would rather try making bagels so I can have one the next day than just driving the .5 miles to Safeway and buying some.
 Also, I've been experimenting more with bread and such lately and my bread machine book had bagels. So I was interested in trying.
Turns out bagels are a ton of work. Rising. Water treatment. Burning fingers handling boiling hot bagels. Dipping. Geez.
 Finished product. Flat. Not too dry. Only ate them for 2 days. Trashed the rest. Couldn't love them like official bagels.
Tried again one more time, because I don't give up easily. Results were not improved. Verdict: buy bagels at the store. :(