Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I am headed to the Library

I wish home was where I was doing my laundry today lol...I am headed to the Laundray mat (yes, my washer part still has not arrived, Thanks Whirlpool, this is two weeks with no washer and I paid 1000.00 for it 14 months ago).
I am also stopping at the Library. I love the Library. I try to go every week, books can be checked out for three weeks so I have leeway.
What I love is, checking out cookbooks. I love to read them as I have mentioned before but never really follow a recipe. If I fall in love with one, then I know I have to run out and buy it, but otherwise, this saves me a lot of money on cookbooks I end up giving away because they are not what I thought they would be.
I can also order things my library does not have and have them sent to my library for pick up and drop off there again. My kids order movies they want to see. We bought too many dvd's that no one ever watches again, so this not only saves money, but save space and dust collectors.
It's a beautiful sunny day. I may do the library first so I have some good books to read at the laundrymat. I will just bring my wet clothes home, as I can hang out the wash and also my dryer is still in working order...I did not buy the duet dryer, because my dryer was in working order yet, and now I know I wont' buy the matching dryer after what I went through with whirlpool.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I'm making Beer Batter Bread

Some people pay 5-7 dollars for one of these packages from those home party food companies. They are easy to make at home and cheap! Tried and true. Make a few batches up, and put in a canning jar and give as a gift with a can of beer and a cute tag attached with baking instructions.

Beer Batter Bread

Makes 1 loaf


3 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

3 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt

1 bottle (12 ounces) beer, at room temperature

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

PreparationPreheat the oven to 375°F. In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the beer all at once, mixing as little as possible; the batter should be lumpy.

Pour the batter into a 9-x-5-x-3-inch loaf pan and brush with the melted butter. Bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sorry America !

I guess I should not blame all of America for a dumb company that has poor management.
Not the USA
I love my Chevy Truck, Cocacola, and the freedom I have to rant about bad companies!

Friday, March 27, 2009



We have gone through hell with whirlpool for the past week. My 1000.00 front load washer just mysteriously stopped working on Sunday, Sat night it worked fine, washing my sweaters on the gentle cycle. Sunday, nothing.
Its only 14 mos old.
Called whirlpool Monday, they said they will take care of it, and send us the part is supposedly needed according to the code. they over night it to us...great, its not the right thing because it still doesn't work. the repairman said its another computer board that costs 500 dollars. he calls whirlpool (their serviceman) and they tell him they aren't going to cover it.
My husband calls, they offer to give us a 75 percent discount on the part, great, whatever, its been a week, pay it I want my washer working..now they tell us the part won't come for 7-10 days. They can't overnight it??? what? they overnight ed the part they told us it was on Monday and it was the wrong part, now it will be over two weeks that I am without a washer when I paid 1000.00 for this piece of crap.
I also bought a 1600 dollar refrigerator from them a few years ago and it too broke after 13 months. THROW AWAY BULLCRAP APPLIANCES.....NEVER EVER WILL I BUY WHIRLPOOL AGAIN.
Funny thing is, we asked a repairman we know what brand we should go with, because I wanted a Bosch, he said, no don't get a bosch, it takes forever to get parts, whirlpool parts are carried in all repairmen's vans....yeah, okay...two weeks..bet my bosch would still be working!
now after spending a grand on a whirlpool, i get to go to the laundry mat, wasting gas, time and money on their machines! thanks whirlpool! I will never ever buy anything from them again!
I will buy foreign Bosch appliances.
Guess buying American only screws ya in the end!

Happy Eggs Re-visited

Easter is upon us, and I wanted to post about Happy Eggs because it is hard boiled egg season.

Okay, I have to admit, I snagged this pic of the smiley eggs from google pics, I have not taken any of my own egg pics. As you can see, you can have a lot of fun with face styles.

Ever since my boys were little, I made hard boiled eggs for them and to distinguish them from the raw eggs, I would put smiley faces on them to make them look fun to eat. My boys are teenagers now and don't have to be coaxed into eating healthy, they are really healthy eaters, but I still do this to distinguish cooked and uncooked..and we still call them "happy eggs".

Of course, if your kids are artistic and into dying eggs, you can dye them to tell the difference between cooked and uncooked..and really, you can do this year round, why just easter eggs are dyed I have no clue.
Dyeing Easter eggs is one of those perennial fun holidays tasks that has probably been around for centuries. Does it improve the taste of the eggs? No. Does it increase the fun and enjoyment of a holiday for kids? Most certainly! Here is a nice, simple way to dye eggs.

There are many ways to dye eggs, with stickers, rubber bands etc you can make all kind of designs on them...here is a basic how to....

masking tape
hardboiled eggs
food coloring
1/2 cup water per color
1 teaspoon vinegar per color
Cut a variety of shapes from the tape, such as circles, squares, diamonds, stars, hearts, moons etc.
When the hardboiled eggs have cooled, press the tape onto the eggs in any pattern you like.
Be sure to press the tape firmly onto the egg so the coloring doesn’t run under it.
Boil the water and add 1 teaspoon vinegar and 20 drops food coloring.
Dip the egg(s) into the boiling water for about 5 minutes, or longer for deeper color.
Carefully remove the egg(s) and let cool and dry.
When the eggs are dry carefully remove the tape.
You can repeat this process for as many colors as you like.
If you would like to have plain colored eggs, just omit the step with the tape.
(source for instructions:
http://www.chevroncars.com/learn/fun-games/how-to-dye-easter-eggs) You can find many sources online. This was the first one in google that did not require me to go out and buy the kit.

I know a friend of mine who just put some vinegar and food color in her cold water bath to her cooling down eggs and that was that, they were all dyed the same color but she knew which were the one's that were cooked at a glance. (not a bad idea, but I think my boys would be secretly disappointed if they were not happy eggs anymore at my house).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mock Crabcakes

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This is my own recipe. If you are going to "snag" it, please give me credit for it, there is nothing I hate worse than having someone take credit for my recipes!

One day I will write a recipe book. Until then, I am willing to share a few here and there.

Zucchini season is upon us. My husband's friends love when I make this. One of his friend's has a produce stand and requested me to copy this recipe for him to give out with the zucchini...it was a hit. He said he sells zucchini to the same ladies all the time, they came back to rave about my recipe. Everyone who tries this, requests the recipe.

Also, making this recipe makes the Maryland Blue Crabs very happy, as my husband and I feel they are over 'fished' and will soon become extinct if they don't stop having "all you can eat crab" deals at the Delmarva restaurants. People waste alot of the crab, figuring they get more so they throw away alot of crab. How sad.

We love real crabmeat, dont' get me wrong, but when you don't have it available..here is a good sub.

Now, on with the crabbie patties...

Mock Crab Cakes
There is no crab in this, it tastes like it
-Shannon Dillman

2 c coarsely grated zucchini (liquid drained, squeeze out)
1 c Panko bread crumbs
2 T grated onion
2 T mayonnaise
2 T cream cheese (opt, I add)
2 eggs
2 t old bay seasoning
1 T chopped parsley
2 T garlic (minced dried or fresh works)

In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, mix and shape into cakes.
Put by tablespoon or cookie scoop onto a fry pan with your favorite oil and fry.

And once you mix the "batter" use it immediately so it does not get soggy.
I make up the batter then throw in zucchini and then the panko bread crumbs last and make them all right away.
If I want to make extra, I make them and put them in a glass container on top of deli wrap paper (I get the sheets from Sams).

PS Please comment or email me if you made this. I love to get your feedback!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The price of eating at home

My family likes to eat well. We appreciate good food! We are pretty lucky to be able to afford to eat things like Sashimi (raw fish minus the boring cold rice), Lobster, Shrimp, and many other goodies that can seem pricey. We are far from rich, but I realize there are some that are less fortunate, and have little or nothing to eat. If I think about the cost of eating out, and we do not eat out often, I cringe at the prices in restaurants. Most of the food at restaurants are over cooked. Steaks, tuna/salmon, lobster tail, shrimp etc. It always tastes better when I cook at home. I got two, two packs of lobster tails at Sams for 20-25 dollars. (and when on sale, I get them at the seafood store fresh). Sams has really nice size tails. Twice the size you get at the seafood chains, and only about 10.00 each. Add a bag of shrimp for the family, 2 lbs peeled, cleaned tails on uncooked, 31-40 shrimp for 12.86 (divided by say 36 average in a bag, they come out to 35 cents each). I always price down food I buy like this. So you get 8 shrimp scampi for 2.80 on the side. A baked potato and broccoli (broccoli is 4.88 for a big 3 lb bag, divided by 5 because I get at least 5 sides of broccoli out of that bag, at least, it comes out to costing 97 cents to feed the whole family, divide that by four servings, 24 cents). red potatoes are 6.37 for a 10 lb bag... you get about 20 potatoes in that bag (i weighed a few potatoes to figure it out) comes out to 32 cents each. it would be 13.36 per person for that feast at home, that is around 25 dollars at red lobster and it would be cooked to our liking, no pricey drink costs, no tip....just good food cheap, and the bonus, I know what is in it, I made it healthy and I can count the calories in it myself. Our lobster tails were so meaty, we did not finish them last time and had the leftovers for breakfast! The only time I care to eat seafood out, is on vacation, because its my vacation too, and I don't cook on vacation! We also know that the food is safe, my husband and boys love to eat Sushimi, mostly raw salmon, red snapper and tuna. I order it from the seafood place, sushi grade, so I know its fresh, and I dont' mind them eating it. (they have had hep shots lol). We also love ceviche, which needs to also be bought sushi grade, no matter what fish you are using.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Check your receipt!

When you go to the grocery store, check your receipt! I am really bad at that. My sister, shops several times a week in small quantities and she checks hers all the time and finds discrepancies all the time too.

The other day, she was at my favorite grocery store, Giant. I like it because the produce is almost always fresh (or looks it lol), and they sell boars head lunch meat, which is pricey but sliced fresh...note: Redners sprays their pre-sliced lunch meat with water every morning to "fluff it up" I know this because Boars head will not sell to Redners because they do that. I know the regional rep for boars head...insider tip.

Anyway, and example of what my sister found out was.....Giant had flags at their Arnold bread saying it was on sale 2/$5. I know it did, because I just bought that brand the day before. She did not see the sale price reflected on her receipt, so she went to customer service. The gal did not want to honor it and said, yeah, we know the sale price flags are still there, we let them up all the time, its too much trouble to take them down and they will go on sale again eventually. She demanded a manager. The manager told the gal to give her the sale price, but that isn't the point...we all, as shoppers, think that is on sale and buy it. If we don't check our receipt, we pay full price and don't even know it. It's very deceiving. I always shop for a week and get way too many things to remember every sale price, and am bagging at check out, so I can't always watch the cash register monitor.

I am going to start going to the grocery store twice a week so I can get a better grip of what I pay and when I am being ripped off. I can also have fresher produce if I go more often. I read in my old Betty Crocker recipe book that you are supposed to go twice a week. With gas prices, its not always convenient, but I can swing it.
I have a good mind to call a news channel to do one of those undercover investigations.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

More on the upside down tomato plants

For more pics and instructions, see Feb. 12th blog entry, link to it below.


Although I would never do this type of tomato plant, if you do it, my husband had an idea, to take off the lid when you turn it over to hang, and plant some herbs in the top too. you would have a tomato plant coming out the bottom and plants on top too. We also thought about putting a coffee filter with a small hole for the tomato plant so the dirt didn't come out. My husband is a painter so we have paint buckets coming out of our ears. I have friends who plant stuff in paint buckets on their patios. You can decorate them with mortar and gems, stones, tiles, broken plates, etc.

Friday, March 20, 2009

a little housekeeping humor

Good Housekeeping Tip
Another Maxine Tip

Always keep several get well cards on the mantle... So if unexpected guests arrive, They will think you've been sick and unable to clean!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pillow Cases

Pillow cases are really strong and can be useful for many things.
I have seen people make aprons, tote bags, drawstring bags, dog beds, etc.

I always handed my kids a nice pillow case for their trick or treat bag, you won't believe the weight those things can hold in candy! lol. I buy them at sams in a big 12 pack and have them on hand for the kids friends too. You know there is always that kid that comes over to go along trick or treating without a bag lol. Use as is, or decorate a white one with ghost face.

They are great as covers for heating pads, beach totes. They are handy laundry bags when the kids go to a sleep over or for vacation, to keep the dirty/clean organized.

You can also decorate them, and use them as gift bags. The recipient can reuse them, save the world! lol.

this is a great little tutorial for making this pretty pillowcase tote, which you could use as a grocery bag or anything! http://blog.creativekismet.com/2007/10/27/pillowcase-tote-tutorial/