Names have been changed to protect the innocent...and my husband...and me...but not the dog. His name is Dexter.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Recipe Swap Wednesday- Brazilian Valentine Dinner

For Valentine's Day this year, I decided to make a Brazilian Feast! Well, a Brazilian dinner. CG served his mission in Brazil, as well as half the other return missionaries in Utah, and I thought he would appreciate a little culinary walk down memory lane. Lame Valentine's Day gift? Possibly. But that's what I did. We'll look into getting me gift giving lessons for next year. In my defense, I also got him heart shaped peanut butter cups.

Anyway, back to the meal....

We had Pao de queijo, which are cheese rolls. I used this recipe here.

We also had Coxinha de falinha, which are yummy chicken drumsticks. I used this recipe and I would highly recommend starting the preparations for these the day before. Because they can take a long time.

We also enjoy some Caipirinha, which is an amazing lime drink. Since most versions of this recipe calls for large amounts of alcohol we had to make up our own recipe. And you're lucky enough that I'm willing to share. Because it's that good.

Caipirinha(lime drink)
10 small limes, squeezed to within an inch of its life.
7.5 cups of water
1.25 cups of sugar

Mix it all together and enjoy. You might want to strain it unless you like it chunky.

Which brings us to the main attraction of the meal. Feijoada. This is something that I've been trying to find a good recipe for for quite a while. The problem is that most recipes list suggested seasonings, but not measurements. So I looked at this recipe and also looked at the instructions from That Girl (formerly in Brazil) for cooking beans. The only problem I had was that I don't have a pressure cooker. Or a place to store one. And I'm kind of scared of them. So I came up with this recipe and it turned out pretty good.

Feijoada-Brazilian Black Beans
4 cans of black beans, un-drained
1/2 pound of bacon
1/2 pound of kielbasa
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cumin
Cilantro-about half a bunch, or whenever you get sick of picking off the leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the black beans in a crock pot and let them start heating up. In a frying pan, fry up the bacon. I recommend turkey bacon. It's lower in fat, tastes just like regular bacon, less messy to cook AND it's usually cheaper. Once the bacon is cooked and crumbled, add the kielbasa, onion and garlic. Then add the oregano, cumin and cilantro. Once the onion is soft, add this to the beans in your crock pot. This is also when I add a little salt and pepper. I highly recommend sea salt. Because it is awesome.

Let it cook in your crock pot for as long as you like, but I recommend at least 2 hours so that you can get the full flavor. Serve on rice.

Health nut tip: you can make this recipe without any of the meat and when it's combined with the rice it makes a complete protein that's low in fat. Wish I had known that when I was pregnant with Lolly and on a fat free diet!

And I'm sorry to say, but I don't have a single picture from this meal. Frankly, after 3 hours of cooking it didn't even occur to me to take pictures. I just wanted to sit down and have a huge glass of Caipirinha.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bitterness, Thy Name Is Lady

I'm sick. AGAIN! Stupid germs. I've got a nasty head cold. It started threatening me last Thursday but I was hoping that thinking positive and eating Chinese Food would make it go away. By Saturday night, I knew it was winning. Yesterday, CG took care of the girls all day so that I could rest and feel better by today. He even cooked our contribution for the dinner with his side of the family (a yummy Brazilian dish I made for Valentine's) and took the girls to the get-together at his parents house by himself. And today? I still feel like a big piece of crap. And the Chinese Food is gone. I'm going to console myself with Mountain Dew and Valentine's candy. Yep, I'm lots of fun to be around right now. Wish me luck that this will all be gone by tomorrow because I've got things planned for this week that I don't want to have to cancel..... AGAIN! Stupid germs.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Because I Am Nosy

Tax Returns. I've been hearing little bits and pieces in blog-land about them from the early filers. CG and I have been talking about them. They have been on my mind. No, I haven't done our taxes yet, but that's not what I've been thinking about. I have a question.

What do you do with your tax return?

There are so many options, really. The only limit is your imagination. And I guess the amount of your return, if you want to be picky.

CG and I have been talking about this lately. Growing up, CG's Dad was self-employed so "tax return" wasn't mentioned as often as "tax deduction". When we were first married things were a little tight. CG was in school and we had an adorable little baby to feed and clothe. And like most people in that situation, we weren't exactly rolling in the dough. We would put our tax return into savings and each month, if our ends didn't quite meet, we'd take money out of savings to put our ends on friendlier terms. We were also able to do some small home projects that way. Not super exciting, but it kept us from getting into credit card debt.

Some people put the money towards their mortgage or student loans. Some do home remodeling projects. Some pay off credit card debt. Some invest....I'm not sure where, but that does sound cool. Some take family vacations. I'm willing to bet that probably someone, somewhere donates it to charity.

So! I wanna know....what are you doing? Feel free to comment anonymously. And ask all your friends and family and comment for them, too. I just really want to know what most people do with their taxes. Because I'm nosy. But you already knew that from my clever title.

As for us, it's going into savings (shock!) until a future time when we need it for.....whatever we need it for. Our big goal is to just get it done in time. Last year we filed our taxes, refinanced our house and remodeled the kitchen all in the same week. This year, just filing our taxes will be enough excitement.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Favorite-Spa Days

We had to miss church on Sunday due to the annoying cold that will just not go away. (We won't talk about how I now have it for the second time. Bitter mutterings...) And to ease the pain of staying home we had a Spa Day.

Family Pedicures
Some of us even got the matching mani-pedi.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I'm A Resolutionary

Today I am going to post my New Years Resolutions for ALL to see. Some of you may be asking yourself why I'm posting so late in the year. For those who have been reading for a while or know me in real life, you're probably thinking "Yay, Lady, you posted your resolutions before June!". But I actually do have a good reason for being late on this one. Don't I always?! On the one hand, I'm probably one of the only people posting about New Years Resolutions today. Also, I put a lot of thought into my resolutions and anything that requires a lot of thought takes me a long time.

I must confess, I'm one of those people. You know....those annoying, goal oriented, New Years Resolutions promoting people. I just have to have goals in life or I'm kind of lost. Sometimes they're big goals like graduating from college, 300 crunches or finishing a large project. And sometimes they're small goals like doing the dishes or brushing my teeth before noon. The point is, I have something that I'm working toward that I will actually be able to see/feel the result. Yes, I do realize that this can be irritating to those around me so I try to keep it mostly to myself. When CG and I were first married I use to bore him with all the details of my goals and New Years Resolutions. He would usually fall asleep. So I stopped. Now, ironically, he's been making goals.

I usually like to categorize my goals each year like physical, emotional, spiritual or something else along those lines. This year the categories are Small, Large and Ridiculous.

Small Goals
Make One New Recipe Each Month-My sister did this a couple of years ago and had a lot of fun with it. I think I probably already make a new recipe every month, but now I'm going to put a little more thought into it. I actually tried 3 new recipes in January. It was fun. And I'll eventually share them with you.

Continue My Attempts at Healthier Living- I was recently reading an magazine article that was talking about how small, maintainable changes are better for long term results than big, dramatic changes that are hard to stick with. Last year my goal was to exercise 3 times a week and make healthier food choices like watching portion sizes and not having seconds. The exercising was much harder to maintain (you know my kids, right?!) but the eating half of the goal has been easier. I haven't lost a lot of weight (about 10 pounds last year) but enough that it lowered my BMI into the "Normal" zone. It's nice to be normal somewhere. And I've made changes that I can actually maintain long term. So, here's to saying goodbye to another 10 pounds in 2010.

Grocery Budget-I started this last fall, but then got off track with all the swine flu and holidays going around. Our grocery budget is $50 a week. That includes what we're having for meals that week and also continue adding to our food storage. After reading something online, I have found that for me it's easiest to accomplish this budget goal by only using cash for grocery shopping. It's a little inconvenient to get the cash before shopping, but overall it's helpful. I must admit that I am struggling with it a little bit and I'm thinking of increasing it to $60 a week. But not yet. I'll keep you posted. Probably.

Updating Our 72 Hour Kits-It's my current obsession. I'll do a post all about it if you want to hear all the details. Anyone? No one? Okay then......

Large Goals
A Year of Savings-This is actually a goal that CG and I set last summer and are continuing with this year. We decided that we would work towards getting a years worth of expenses into our savings account in a year. We figured out what our monthly expenses are (minus the frills) and multiplied that by 12, obviously. Have you ever figured out how much that is? Go ahead, I'll wait. Now divide that amount by 12 (duh) to figure out what you'll have to save each month.

Has your heart started beating again yet? Yeah, I freaked out a little when I realized how much we would need to have in savings to cover us for a year and how much we would need to save each month. It's daunting, to say the least. We are currently renting out our basement so that is what makes this goal even remotely attainable. Even with that, though, life still happens. Cars break down, house repairs need to be made and Old Navy has clearance sales. This year we'll have to replace CG's car (final verdict was failing transmission) and that means our savings will take a pretty big hit. But! We just keep trying. Besides, even if we end up having to spend half of what we save on cars and houses repairs, we're still better off than if we hadn't saved anything at all.

We've been going with the plan of "spending as little as possible while saving as much as possible". Although it has worked okay, we think we can do better. So, we're thinking of extending our cash only policy from the grocery budget to all expenses. Obviously this doesn't include mortgage and utility payments because we are fans of Online Bill Pay. And I don't want to be walking around with that much cash and going to each place individually to make our payments. That's something that wouldn't happen more than once. But for everything else, a cash only budget. Doesn't that sound exciting?! Yesterday I was figuring out about how much we would need in each category, etc. It was enlightening. But I think attainable. The only question that lingers in my little brain is if for the larger things (like Christmas and Birthdays) would it be better to put it in savings to accrue interest and run the risk of going over budget or just get the cash each month and be done with it. At this point, I'm undecided.

Organize Our Home-Now, I know this is a totally original goal. No one ever says that this is going to be the year I finally get organized. This is also something I've been working on for the past few years. We live in an average sized home. Well, compared to the newer homes being built, it's slightly smaller than average. But totally enough space for our family of 4. As long as that space is being used wisely. Now, as I said before, we rent out our basement so we're actually living in half the house. Roughly a little over 1,000 square feet. Small by some standards, but just fine for us right now. And with the age of our children (2 & 5), they want to be attached to my legs for most of the day so we don't really need that much space. Our problem? Storage. And also, having kid space and parent space. This has been a bit of a challenge, but we are slowly finding solutions that work for us.

First of all, when out shopping or daydreaming of shopping, the object of my desire has to meet two requirements: #1-Is this something that will be useful or totally adored? #2-Will this have a place to live once it gets taken home? Many of you have probably heard the advice that if something in your home isn't useful or beautiful, you should get rid of it. Easy to say, hard to follow. But I have found that if it doesn't pass the initial qualifications, then I don't have to get rid of it later. Nice.

We've already started on the organization goals. We've rearranged our front room(pictures and future post to come eventually) and I've organized my shoes. I love organized shoes. It makes me happy. The master bedroom closet is next on the list since our room looks like a natural disaster has hit it. I've taken before pictures, but haven't been able to talk CG into letting me post them once I get the closet done. Yes, it's THAT bad. But I'll keep trying. After our room comes the laundry room. I can't even talk about that room right now without having an anxiety attack. Maybe another time. Maybe not.

And now for the ridiculous.

Ridiculous Goal
Write A Book-A lot of people have this goal. Somehow, I feel like I'm missing out on something. I could totally write a book, right?! I mean, everything I write on this blog is just dripping in fabulous-ness. Writing a book should be a piece of cake. You guys would totally buy my book, right?! I could write a book about.......

Ha ha ha ha ha......I think I'll just stick to reading books and leave the writing to the people who actually know how to write. I think I had another ridiculous goal, but for the life of me, I can't remember what it was. Probably had something to do with improving my memory.

Lolly's New Years Resolutions are to learn how to use permanent markers and drive a car. She is 5. She wasn't thrilled when I told her that those goals probably weren't going to be reached this year. Maybe my goals are as equally unattainable. Or maybe I should do more to support her goals. I'll let you know how the driving lessons go.


Happy Birthday Aunt Cindy!

Your card is going out in the mail today. The glitter took longer to dry than I anticipated.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...