Thursday, July 31, 2008

Here Fishy Fishy!

Do you enjoy seafood? My husband and I are big Tilapia fans. Tilapia, for those who don't know, is a mild, yet delicious, white fish. I love cooking it, for it doesn't take too long and it tastes great.

Here is my recipe:

Baked Tilapia

4 (4 ounce) fillets tilapia
2 teaspoons butter
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt, or to taste

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees F). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Place the tilapia fillets in the bottom of the baking dish and dot with butter. Season with Old Bay seasoning and garlic salt. Top each one with a slice or two of lemon. Arrange the frozen mixed vegetables around the fish, and season lightly with salt and pepper.
Cover the dish and bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until fish flakes easily with a fork.


I copied this from a cookbook of mine as it is the one I use most often, but I do not include the lemon because my husband is allergic to lemon. The fish comes out tender, moist and flaky. It is absolutely delicious, and even the kids like it! I think though that if I did add the lemon, it would add a nice twist to the recipe and give our tastebuds a bit of a tingle. I'd also like to see some other spices used, but I am not quite sure what yet. I am going to have to experiment the next time I cook it. You can also cook tilapia with tomato sauce, so that might be something I'll have to try as well.

Do you readers have any suggestions as to how to make it taste even better? I am willing to hear any ideas, as it is always nice to mix things up a bit. Or what about any good recipes you might have that include other types of fish?

My neighbours often have a cook-off and actually prepare a lot of shellfish, as they love it. Now shellfish isn't my favorite at all, but I do like "regular" fish with fins. What kind of fish do you enjoy?

I personally think that my Baked Tilapia would be a great contender in a cook-off. Who doesn't like to eat a moist flaky fish? Tilapia is so versatile, you can do so many things with it. Plus, I can cook the tilapia pretty well, so I think I would do quite well. I am sure that sounds a bit pompous, but I know what I can do.

If you like to go to cook-offs, it is that time of year again!! In New Orleans, Louisiana, the Great American Seafood Cook off is taking place this August. Chefs from all over come to compete and win the title of "Crowned 2008 King of American Seafood". If I could go to the event, I would be so excited! Can you imagine how fun it would be to taste all those fantastic dishes? Not to mention all the local Creole and Cajun dishes from the south!!! My taste buds are working over time just thinking about it!

One thing that really struck me about this festival, is the fact that it is the "Great American Seafood Cook-Off". Notice how I bolded "American"? This cook-off supports local, American fish. All over the United States there are specialities. You have Dungeness Crab, the NW Salmon, Lobster from the NE, and Catfish from the south, and many others. It is important to support our local fisheries and fishermen, and not to rely to heavily upon imported fish. If are able to rely more upon domestic seafood, we know that "the source is known, it is local and fresh". Nothing better than that! That is also why I have started to shop more at my local Farmer's Market. You know where your food is coming from, and it isn't from over seas.

In closing, I encourage you to try support your local fisheries. Try something local instead of just getting food out of your gorcer's freezer. And if you can go to New Orleans next month, then go! Enjoy yourself and that food and report back here to let me know.

Enjoy the recipe!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Becoming A Better Me

I need some improvement! Not just weight loss, but with my motivation with household chores and cooking. So I though I would start a series or something, that I entitled, "Becoming A Better Me".


Today I thought I would work on the cooking aspect. Now, I KNOW I need to cook more often. This summer I have totally slacked off and been lazy. No beating around the bush, I've been lazy!

Last night I made a roast chicken, and had plans to make my usual chicken noodle soup from scratch, tonight. But I have made that so many times, that I am just sick of it. Its the only thing I would do after cooking a chicken!

Tonight for dinner we had Chicken Pot Pie. It was delicious! pardon me for not having any pictures, I forgot, and we had already eaten by the time I remembered.

Here is my from scratch, recipe:

Couple cups of diced cooked chicken
2 cans of cream of chicken soup, undiluted (10.5 oz cans)
1 can of mixed veggies
2 small, peeled and diced potatoes-cooked or raw, it doesn't matter.
1/2 onion, chopped to your liking
Garlic salt
Pepper

And 1 pie crust.

Mix all the above ingredients, except the pie crust, in a big 'ole mixing bowl, adding the garlic salt and pepper to your liking (i use a pepper grinder with peppercorns which adds more flavor, not that tasteless pepper you get at any grocery store).

Everything should be nicely coated by the soup. Remember, the veggies will emit a lot of liquid while cooking, so if you don't like it runny at all, you can add some more veggies to make it chunkier. Mine turned out perfectly though, with just the right amount of sauce and vegetables.

Once everything is mixed, place your pie crust in your pie plate and spread the mix evenly inside it. Place the top pie crust on top, fold under the edges and crimp them. I like to add a few knife cuts on top, so I usually do our last name initial. Place on a cookie sheet, and bake in a 375 F degree oven for 45-50 minutes. Let cool on your counter for about 10-15 minutes.

*************************************************************************************

I LOVED this stuff. I definitely plan on making it again once the man comes home in 4 weeks, or before. It seems like it would be a great make-ahead freezer meal, especially during the winter. You can just take it out of the freezer and put it in the stove. I do think it will take longer to cook, but shouldn't be more than an hour I would think.

Enjoy!

Look for more posts on cooking, makeup, fitness, clothing et cetera! I need something to write about, so this will be it.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This Just Made My Day!!!

I dont know if anyone remembers, but I have written about Rob
TheLoneFilmMaker. I have followed his progress on YouTube faithfully, enjoying every video.

Rob commented that my blog intrigued him, because I said I had a husband, but was a single mom. lol Well, the truth is that my husband is a truck driver and gone weeks at a time. We rarely see him, usually one week out of every 7.

Well, today when I got home...Rob had commented on my blog!!! I know it might seem silly to you all, but I feel like I got a visit from a celebrity! I am so excited!!!

So Rob, if you are reading this again, thank you so much for commenting! You've made my day. Thank you so much for coming by here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Hi Everybody!!

So the man is gone, and it time to update my blog again! I apologize for being so lax in my posting, but with my hubby home we were very busy!

Tomorrow I plan to get back into the swing of things, and I am starting it off by going on a DIET AND going back to the gym. I took some time off while my man was home. Also, tomorrow afternoon my 2 year olds bed is being delivered, so I have a lot of housework to do today. Mostly in the girls' room though, because its a pig sty.

I can't believe we're past mid july already. This year has just flown by, hasn't it? Summer vacation will be over in a month and a half, so in about a month or so, I have to wean my 3 older children off their summer schedule and ease back into the school schedule. I am looking forward to it! lol

Last week we signed up our son for swimming lessons so he could go with his sisters, so next week, starting the 29th, I will be at the YMCA from 4:30-6pm Tues and Thurs. I plan to use some of that time to work out too.

And even better, my man will be home in 5 weeks again at the end of august!!!

I still have Mt St Helen's photos to upload to here, so be patient...they're coming. I just have to add a watermark to them with my new snazzy Paint Shop Pro that I got for my b-day last week.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!!

Today I turn 28!!!
I got woken up with a ton of great presents from my hubby and the kids, and my favorite was Paint Shop Pro photo software!!! I can't wait to use it.

I haven't updated in awhile because we have been so busy. Monday we were at Mt St Helens, and I have some awesome pictures to share, once I get around to it. lol

I'll write later...just wanted to update a little.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Zenni Optical Was In The News!

Have you heard?

I wrote about ZenniOptical.com a couple days ago informing you all about their great $8 prices on Glasses Frames. I wish I had remembered this today, because my hubby had an eye appointment and we spent $300 on his lenses and frames!!

"I went on their site because I will be needing new glasses soon, and I found some pairs starting as low as $8.00. Yes, you read that right, $8.00!! They also offer extra features such as anti-scratch coating, and UV protection, for free"

Here is the link to the news story: Zenni on Fox. ZenniOptical is able to pass the low prices on to you, the customer, because they are the manufacturer, and you are buying directly from them instead of going through a middle-man.






Thursday, July 10, 2008

He's Home!!

I was suspecting my man today, but he told me he would actually be home last night after the kids went to bed. I was getting them bathed and ready for bed when one of the neighbours rang the doorbell, or so I thought. I thought that was kind of funny because why would they come over at 8:30PM, and when I opened it, it was my husband! When he and I had talked a few minutes before that he told me he was two hours away (when in fact he was only 5 minutes away).

Anyway, we're enjoying having him here. He will be home for about 10 days!!

Till later...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

And This Makes 203

Well, I had thought I would celebrate my blog having two hundred posts, but I forgot. 203 is just as good, right?

This blogging thing has eluded (spelling? is it an E or an A?) me off and on. Some days I can't shut up, some days I have nothing to say! I get writers block quite a bit I think. Maybe I don't think my life is very interesting? lol Since the man of the house is coming home in two days (possibly tomorrow night! does that mean I need to get out the weed whacker? lol), I will be pretty busy, but I will continue to post as much as possible. Monday I am pretty excited for, as we're going to visit Mt. St. Helen's. I'll be sure to try and post some pictures! And how can I forget to post about my exciting day on Saturday? I'm dying to go shopping and eat cheesecake! lol

Until later my dearest readers...

Need New Glasses?

Then check out zennioptical.com. They are a great company that sells fashionable glasses at unbeatable prices! ZenniOptical claims that they are able to offer you such low prices because there is no middleman between you and them. You buy directly from them, as they are the manufacturer.

I went on their site because I will be needing new glasses soon, and I found some pairs starting as low as $8.00. Yes, you read that right, $8.00!! They also offer extra features such as anti-scratch coating, and UV protection, for free!!!

Here are a couple of the neat frames they offer:





Go visit their site, I promise you will not be disappointed!

Carnival Time

I am participating in the Make It From Scratch Carnival again! This week it is hosted by Home Ec 101. Thank you for including my post It Was A "Jam-Boree", in this weeks edition of the Make It From Scratch Carnival.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Renuzit Tri-Scents

Awhile back on Social Spark, I was given an invitation to try a new product called Renuzit TriScents. I was asked to give my shipping address, which I did, and was told I would receive a free sample. Today it came!! I was pleasantly surprised, as I had forgotten about it.

The sample was actually a full size product, and it came nicely wrapped too. Inside the box was crinkly blue paper to cushion it. You don't normally see that kind of detail, so that made me happy. I received the "Seaside Breezes" collection of scents in my package. That includes "Relaxing Waves", "Beach Breezes", and "Ocean Oasis". Now normally I am not an air freshener type of person, I don't really care for them, nor do I care for ocean type scents. But once again, I was very surprised and I actually do enjoy it quite a bit.

I decided to put the Renuzit TriScents in my living room because it was the closest outlet to where I opened my package. Where my desk is, is actually quite far away from the outlet, and I can still smell it clear across the room. It is not strong, smells very pleasant and distributes the fragrance nicely throughout the room. I am very happy with it! And nothing beats free stuff in the mail either.

Renuzit TriScents is a really innovative product. What it does is have three different scented oils, which I listed the names of above, and every forty-five minutes, the unit will switch scents. They say on their site that once you get used to a fragrance, you stop smelling it (this happens to me all the time with my perfume). That is why I really like this, because every forty-five minutes, you get a new fragrance in the air.

With my package, I also received some coupons to put towards any Renuzit products. One is for $2 off any one Renuzit TriScents Air Freshener Kit. If you visit their website, Renuzit TriScents, you can also print out some coupons for the Renuzit TriScents starter kit.


Ts_version_2

Sponsored by Renuzit TriScents

Carnival Time

Thank you to All Rileyed Up for including my post I Had To Yoke The Kids in this weeks edition of the Carnival of Family Life

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Tips For Selling Your Home

I came across some pretty handy tips the other day for selling your house fast. I wish we had known about these because I am sure it would have been more than beneficial for us when we sold our house back in April. We went the traditional way and listed with a RE/Max Agent. Our house was on the market mid to late January, and we finally closed end of April! That took way too long. We were lucky the buyers did not back out, because it can be pretty hard to sell now-a-days.

This eBook I found, For Sale By Owner, gives you step-by-step instructions on how to sell your home fast, in a buyers market, all on your own without needing a Real Estate Agent. They give you some awesome tips, like how you can make your home stand out above the rest, and how to attract buyers by the "deal", not by the house.

They claim that their program is vital to your success because they will teach you how to avoid the seller pitfalls, and also:

How to make your home standout over the majority of homes for sale

How to protect yourself legally and financially every step of the way
Pull buyers in like a magnet

Learn the Little-known quick sales technique

Sell quickly using no agent

How to be snowed under with buyers

Ads that get buyers scrambling to the phone

How to get buyers to call you first

How to get buyers competing for your house

Step-by-step instructions on how to create a grade-A note. Plus, how to sell it.




It might seem too good to be true, but I honestly wish we had known these things. The program seems to be valid enough, and it is quite cheap at the low price of only $28.95. I also read that they will offer you assistance and guidance if you need it, with no cost or obligation. I give them a thumbs up for actually wanting to help the sellers instead of the buyers! Buyers are getting screwed all too often now with the market the way it is, and it is refreshing to see someone out there that actually wants to help buyers avoid that.

Check them out!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

I'll Be MIA Soon!!

Well, the time has come for my dearest to come home! I have not seen my hubby in about 10 weeks!!! Though frankly, the time has passed very quickly. This is our longest stretch each year, and it isn't really that bad, as we keep pretty busy around the house. We go to Karate lessons, Swimming lessons, the kids had school up until a couple weeks ago, etc etc.

He will be home on Thursday, and home for 8 whole days. I don't expect to be around that much, we are always busy. I will try to post on here at least once or twice though.

Friday the 11Th, he has an eye appointment, we have to buy our youngest daughter her first twin bed (Yaay!!!), he needs shoes, and we also have to purchase a new microwave since ours just shit the bed, and we're purchasing a freezer. Crazy day that day!!!

Saturday is the day I am going out with my friends. Just us three girls, no husbands, no kids, no responsibilities! Yaay! We're headed to an outlet mall to hit up the Gap, Gymboree and Children's Place outlet stores. Then we'll head to Ikea, which I am excited about the most since I haven't been to one since we lived in Germany. Then it is off to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner! We are all very excited to go.

No idea what we're doing on Sunday, but Monday I think we're headed to Mt. St. Helen's for a day trip. We do have other plans, but the first few days are always the busiest for us.

Now I get to spend the next few days getting the house super clean and prettying myself up, as he likes my nails red. ;o)

Till later!

LA Police Gear

I have written about LA Police gear before, do you all remember? Well, they are looking for more business!

Check out their website and look for the 5.11 pants. The 5.11 Tactical Clothing series has a lot of great items. If you are looking for a great bargain, the brown 5.11 Tactical Pants are on clearance for a whopping $3.99!!! You can't be a great deal like that!

LA Police Gear also has some new pants in the 5.11 Tactical series, such as the 5.11 Tactical TacLite Zip Off Pants. They look pretty cool, as they are both shorts and pants. It is like getting two for one!

Check out the free shipping too; Buy any two 5.11 Tactical items and get Free Shipping AND a free hat!


Friday, July 04, 2008

Life As A Mom

I am not sure if many of you readers know, but I function every day as a single parent. Yes, a single mom of four young children. Three are in school (well, it is summer vacation now), and one is just a toddler. Their ages are 7.5, 7.5, almost 6 and 2.

But in reality, I am not a single mom. I do have a husband, whom I have been married to for almost 9 wonderful years. His job, however, takes him away from us for weeks at a time, so I always joke that he is my "sugar daddy".

Being a mom is such a hard job. I am always "on call", and almost never get time to myself. The only time I really get to myself, is when I am at the YMCA working out, and the kids are in childcare. It is an hour and a half of peace, quiet, and ME time. I do have an iPod I listen to, but I shamelessly say that music is much more peaceful compared to 4 loud, and screaming children. And I only get this "time out" 2-3 times per week.

I am not super-mom, though my friends Candace and Heather are quick to say that. I love them for that, even though I vehemently deny any truthfulness to their statements. Last night in fact, as they were chatting away online while I was getting my kid ready for bed, they mentioned they thought I was a super-mom. Candace said I should write a book, and the title was "how to take care of the kids and still manage your man the true tales of a bj giving wife". I had to laugh at that!

My husband is finally coming home in one week. We have not seen him since early May. Though we do talk on the phone daily, it still does not fill the void of him being gone. There are benefits to being by myself though; I get a king sized bed all to myself, I get to watch whatever I want on TV. lol. But I can't wait till he comes home next week! I miss him so much. I get hugs from the kids, but nothing compares to a hug and kiss from the love of your life.

After he comes home, next week saturday, my friends and I are going out for a day of shopping, and out to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. All afternoon and day without kids, plus awesome food and shopping, is sounding like bliss right now!

I just don't like the term "super-mom" because I really feel I am not one. My house is still messy, I am feeding my kids hot dogs for dinner, there is laundry piled up, and my floor desperately needs mopping. But what is a mom to do? If I make jam all afternoon, can I be expected to prepare a huge dinner? I think not! lol
Perhaps I should make jam every day!!

disclaimer...this post was written wednesday afternoon while my jam was setting and the kids were outside before dinner.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

It Was A "Jam-Boree"

I am so lame, aren't I?

Anyway, the much awaited straberry jam post is here!!!

Today I bit the bullet and prepared, and made, and canned, my first ever batch of jam. I only did 8 small jars.

I never knew how labor intensive it was, it really is hard work!! But it all worked out, and now I am just waiting to see if my jars "pop". When they "pop", you know they sealed themselves.

Here are two pics during my sticky adventure






Truth be told, I am afraid it won't work for some reason. That is why I just started off with a small batch, so I wouldn't have too much work down the drain if that did in fact, happen.

Here is a pic of the finished product. You'll notice that the seeds etc, rose to the top. That is normal, and once the jam is opened, it can be stirred to get the right consistency and mix the contents together.



I now know that if I ever decide to pick berries again, I do NOT need 30lbs. I have a feeling I will be doing a lot of freezing, regardless. Oh well, right? I can just chalk it up to a lesson learned. And if they don't seal, then we can refridgerate it, and it should keep for a few weeks.

The sugar content in this jam is high!!! As I said above, I prepared 8 jars of jam. The recipe calls for 7, yes 7, full cups of white sugar. That is almost 1 whole cup of sugar per jar of jam. And each jar is only one cup. lol.

edited to add: I wrote this post yesterday afternoon while I was waiting to hear the jars "pop". As I was was writing, I heard the first jar pop! I was really excited and called my Mom and Oma to tell them! lol All of them sealed!!!

edited to add again: I made more jam last night, one more batch. It turned out great! Jam has to set for 24 hours, so the first batch will be ready this afternoon. We will enjoy it for breakfast tomorrow morning. I'll update then, and let you all know how it tastes.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday



I have missed out on this the last two weeks...eep! I forgot, sorry!!

Thank You to Shannon, over at Rocks In My Dryer, for "Works For Me Wednesday".

This week she is asking us to focus on 5 ingredients or less. That is an easy one for me!

I posted ages and ages ago about my Tator Tot Casserole (scroll down the post to see the recipe), but I shall post it here too. It is a family favorite, it cooks up easily, and tastes good.

Fry up a pound of hamburger with a chopped onion,
once this is done cooking, place in the bottom
of the crock pot.

On top of the hamburger, layer a can or two of cream
of chicken soup, and spread it out as much as possible.

On top of the cream of chicken soup (or mushroom, whatever
you want), spread out the contents of a can of corn (drained).

Then on top of the corn, sprinkle tator tots till you have a nice
thick layer. I find that about a pound and a half works well.
Cook on high for about 2 hours or so, or until the tator tots get
nice and crispy around the edge of the crock pot.

And you're done!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

I Had To Yoke The Kids



We had so many strawberries, I had to yoke them so we could carry them all!

Just kidding. But they were grunting, and whining and sweating buckets by the time we were done!

We went to the strawberry farm today, which is right down the road from our house. I figured we'd head out early in the morning to beat the heat, so we left around 10:30 and it was still cool outside. Less than a half hour in, we took off our coats because we were already sweating!

Picking strawberries is hard work to say the least; all that bending over, and squatting. And dirty work too! My fingernails are stained red from all the juice.
But we had a lot of fun, despite the crankiness of a few children. I got two boxes full, like you see up top. I wanted to get enough to do a couple batches of jam. I figured we would have a lot, but not as much as we did. I was actually worried I wouldn't have enough when I got home, so that is why picked so many, as I did not want to have to come back later in the week.

We came home with 30lbs of strawberries! 30 freakin' pounds! I had the boy carry a box of them to the van, and he was just a grunting away, until he was finally able to let them down, and let out a big, relieved sigh. I also had a very upset toddler, as she was under the impression she got to keep the strawberries in her basket. She didn't' care to dump them out into the box to be weighed.

Today I froze some, to save for later this winter. And tomorrow I am going to make jam! I actually do not have enough canning jars, so I have to get some more tomorrow.

I really didn't think it was possible to get 30lbs of strawberries, but I was proved wrong!

Does anyone have any good recipes? we've been eating them like there is no tomorrow, but after awhile, even fresh picked strawberries can taste like garbage.