Loose Ends and a Recipe Review

I kind of spent 3 hours torturing myself yesterday.  I planned the menu for the 4th of July BBQ, drafted invitations, and then spent the rest of the time eating cereal and quietly sobbing as I scrolled through cute outfit after cute outfit on ModCloth.  There are a lot of events coming up, and not enough outfits, and definitely not enough money for new outfits.  Then, by some miracle, a box arrived in the mail with clothes from my sister’s neighbor.  And she happens to be my size.  And she is a shopaholic.  And the clothes are barely used.  And there are two shiny bathing suits and summer skirts.  So, again, while I may lust towards new clothes, I can’t complain.  I just wish this lady had my shoe size.  Sigh, I’ll never have enough shoes and dresses.

Colorado is still rainy and dreary.  The sun came out for a little bit yesterday, but it wasn’t enough, in my opinion.  Not to mention, everyone is freaking out for fear of another flood.

Which means, unfortunately, we still cannot make more progress (read: finish) the garden bed.  It’s so close to being done, but the weather will not cooperate for us to finish and plant the rest of our seeds.  I’m glad that I was able to plant the flower seeds before all the weather, because they are all starting to sprout up now.  Yay!

Since our garden bed is so large, I didn’t just want to put chicken wire up around it to keep animals out.  It would have been a really tough feat to even do simple gardening.  So we decided to create removeable panels all around the bed, that way I can easily remove sections to get to the garden.  We used this guy’s tutorial on it HERE.  Ours are a little taller, but we did everything else the same way.  Since our garden is shaped like a “U,” we are building a short gate for the front, so we don’t have to create panels for the inside of the “U” (less panels to create).

And since the weather is kind of dreary, I’m going to share my favorite stew recipe.  It is from the Frugal Foodie Mama blog, and it’s the Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Stew.  I adapted it at home to be gluten free (gluten free flour/sauces), I added considerably more carrots (the stew is a little meat heavy) and I omitted the celery because my husband hates celery – and it went over really well.  It’s simple, but has a “higher end” taste than normal stews.  That’s definitely the balsamic vinegar reduction.  Holy crap.

I will say, since I’m linking to another blog that’s highly promoting Sam’s Club, I do not endorse that place.  I have many reasons, but the biggest is how they treat their employees.  There are plenty of other places you can get ethical, high quality meat that doesn’t cost a fortune (and they don’t have really fucked up, backwards attitudes on how people who work their asses off for their company should be treated and paid).  If you have a local butcher, they also have a lot of bulk deals, and frozen stuff is usually discounted quite a bit.  So, get a freezer and stock up!  Also, for families looking to save some money, don’t make meat every night.  I know it’s usually an easy food to work with when you’re busy, but meat is expensive, and really isn’t all that great for you all the time.  Sorry about the awkward rant, but even though I might be almost done with this blog, I will never endorse places I don’t like, and I am NEVER paid for my endorsements.  So yeah… love this recipe, but not the love affair with Sam’s Club.

Well, folks, it’s almost the end.  Tomorrow, I have a great movie that I’m reviewing, and I’ll be parting ways with this blog.

Until next time.

My Halloween Throw-Together Post!

Sorry, apparently I didn’t want to take the extra 30-60 seconds to try and come up with a more creative title.  But here it is!  My non-extensive list of all my favorite Halloween things!  Decor, recipes, movies… ALL THE THINGS.

Let’s start with food since I’m currently shoving my face full of it.  I will not overwhelm you with long lists, just a few things to try (despite my “all the things” claim).

RECIPES!

Breakfast:
Why not try this lovely gluten free pumpkin waffle?  I’m gluten free, so all my recipes will reflect such, but if you happen to love gluten, have no fear!  Add pumpkin (or sweet potato puree) to your favorite waffle recipe.  I’m currently eating leftovers for lunch of this waffle.  I threw it in the toaster and gobbled it up.  It’s delicious and filling.  It goes great with chicken and maple sausage.

Lunch:
It’s my own warm salad recipe.  Sorry, I unfortunately haven’t made it yet this year, so I don’t have any pictures yet, but as soon as I make it again, I’ll re-post my recipe.
Ingredients:
Salad
2 cups quinoa
Couple handfuls of baby spinach
1 can garbanzo beans, toasted in olive oil and salt in the oven – 20 mins (toss halfway through)
1 cup pecan halves, toasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, brown sugar (sprinkle over), and cumin – 20 mins (toss halfway through)
Dressing
4 TBSP Olive Oil
2 TBSP Pure maple syrup
3 TBSP Balsamic vinegar
Directions
Cook up quinoa. Shake up the dressing in a small jar, or mix well in a bowl.  Toss all ingredients together with dressing, adding the spinach last.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve immediately.

Dinner:
Another easy favorite of mine.  Easy Crock Pot chili (I’ll add a recipe page for this later too).
Ingredients:
2 cans kidney beans
2 cans pinto beans
2 cans fire roasted tomatoes with green chilies
2 small cans of jalapenos
1 1/2 tsp chili
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 can water
1/4 cup stout beer (optional)
Directions:
Add all ingredients together in a slow cooker, using only the juice of the cans of the jalapenos.  Mix well and set for 6 or 8 hours.  Serve with your favorite corn bread (mine is Pamela’s gluten free mix).

MOVIES!

My all-time favorite thing to do during October – watch spooky movies!  So grab some hot cocoa, or something pumpkin flavored, your favorite snuggly blanket, and try one of these:

Scared Shrekless: This is seriously my favorite Halloween “movie.”  I know, it’s for kids, but I think it’s hilarious, and I really adore the Shrek world.  It’s not very scary, so it’s perfect for little kids, or if you want a silly laugh after your terrifying slasher, pull this one out.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!: This isn’t exactly my FAVORITE, but I feel obligated to watch in on Halloween every year.  Somehow, I just don’t feel complete without it.  And it’s depressing!

The Nightmare Before Christmas:  We are watching this one tonight to officially ring in the Halloween season.  Not only is this movie fun, but it’s beautiful and the music is magical.  I’m jealous I don’t live in Halloweentown!

Sleepy Hollow: We’ve actually already watched this one for the year, we couldn’t wait.  It’s fun, spooky (maybe a little too much for little ones!) and even a bit of a murder mystery is involved!

The Frighteners: I watched this for the first time last year, and I must say, I loved it.  It’s on Netflix, if you haven’t seen it.  It’s a tad dated, but it’s actually not too bad after the beginning sequence.  It’s rated R, but there isn’t anything too over the top in it (I think the rating is mostly language, to be honest).

A Tale of Two Sisters:  This one doesn’t have a rating, but it’s spooky as hell.  It’s an Asian horror flick, and my all-time favorite.  There’s a mystery and twist ending.  It’s not overly violent, and there’s just enough scare in it to keep you white knuckling it the whole movie.  The acting and writing is great, and so are the special effects (they don’t show too much!).

The Happiness of the Katakuris:  If you want a zombie musical, here you go.  It’s campy, weird, a little morbid, and not too scary.  If you don’t know Japanese, you’ll wish you did, because the songs are incredibly catchy.

White: The Melody of the Curse:  Sorry, this is the last of my Asian recommendations (for this year, muahahahaha!).  This is a great Korean movie with the whole “rage ghost” theme (think The Ring and The Grudge).  But in my opinion, they did it best with this movie.  I thought it was going to be a little dumb, because it’s about a Kpop group that sings a haunted song, but it’s really scary and fun.  The song is catchy too, you’ll be humming it all night.

Psycho:  I don’t watch this every year, but I love it.  Despite being made over 50 years ago, this movie still scares audiences.  I got the pleasure of showing it to Zach for the first time a few years ago, and he actually didn’t know the ending AND WAS SURPRISED!  That’s rare, and amazing!

American Werewolf in London:  I’m not really big on “monster” movies, but this is one of my favorites.  It holds up well, the wolf makeup is great, and I’d fit it into the “dark comedy” category.

 

DECORATIONS!

OK, so I don’t have a lot to put here right now (I’ll have some DIY projects up later), but I wanted to give some of my tips for doing up the spooky decor.  Since everyone has a different decorating style, I think these tips can be easily adapted for any needs.

1. Shop the thrift stores.  Especially in metropolitan areas, or high-end neighborhoods.  I’ve found some really beautiful pieces at thrift stores, including a cookie jar that I got for $5 that is gorgeous and the #1 thing people ask me about.

2. Shop after the holiday.  If you really need something new or want to build your collection faster, shop the Halloween stores after Halloween.  After a week, you’re going to get thrift store prices for new stuff.  Michael’s also does AMAZING sales after the season.  Stock up your carts!

3. DIY when you can.  What pisses me off more than anything are wreaths.  Seriously, THAT wreath is $50???  It looks like a 1st grade art project.  Wreaths are easy to make, and make them affordable.  So go to a craft shop, buy a plain wreath for $5, and decorate it yourself.  I promise, even if you’re not crafty, yours will look better than the ones I’ve been seeing in stores.  You just need a hot glue gun to make your life easier.

 

Well, I think that’s it for now!  I’ll be spattering Halloween tips and updates the entire month, so if you’re not really into Halloween, you should have left this blog long ago.  Share your favorite tips, recipes and movies with me!  I love finding new things for my favorite holiday.

Until next time.