My poor little computer died this weekend. The thing shut down spontaneously and would not reboot. When technology fails, it definitely pays to be married to a geek!
My knight in shining armor quickly diagnosed the problem and replaced my notebook's RAM (because he just happened to have extra lying around). Voila! Problem solved! Not only that, my computer now boots much faster than before.
Many thanks to my buff and studly resident IT tech.
Maybe you've noticed ... my blogging performance has been less-than-stellar lately. I'm completely uninspired. I've hit a major slump. That big 1-0-0-0 posts thing has left me rather deflated. What else is there to say? I can only talk about menu planning and my crazy kids for so long before people (all ten of you) rebel against reading the random musings of my mundane life.
(I'm so ready for spring to arrive.)
Fear not, I won't take drastic action any time soon. I realize I've been sick and tired and grumpy and stressed the past while. Life will likely settle out and all will be rosy once again. New inspiration will strike eventually. Right?
I think my love affair with blogging has grown cold for two key reasons:
I've changed my daily routine and am spending very little time on the computer. (I actually see this as a healthy thing.) These days I'd rather dash off a quick post than spend an hour crafting something witty and profound.
I'm pretty sick of myself lately (but I don't mean to sound horribly self-deprecating). I'm simply tired of coming across as prideful and "super-momish". I don't want to boast about the cool things I've done / nifty projects I've made / profound books I've read. I just want a rest.
All that to say, ye olde Ink Spot is looking rather forlorn these days. I guess this is my rough approximation of an apology and explanation.
I am seriously lacking motivation these days. Seriously. I've been running on fumes most of the week. Blech!
I think the root of my problem is a pesky cold that refuses to leave. It's haunted my body for the past three weeks. The darn thing has taken up permanent residence in my sinuses. I'm not deathly ill, more under the weather, and haven't felt great for a long time. It's time to be healthy already!
Well, today is officially my last day as a twenty-something. Tomorrow I'll hit the big 3-0. Yikes! I'm not completely sure I'm ready to take the leap into a new decade, but as my big birthday approaches I do feel very loved.
Yesterday Ben baked me a cake. He baked me a cheesecake. All by himself. That would bring the number of things my husband has baked in his life to a grand total of ... one. It was the first time he had ever baked anything. I must say, that cheesecake looks mighty fine sitting there in the fridge. It's taken a great deal of willpower for me to refrain from sneaking a teeny-tiny sample.
Earlier this week I casually mentioned I needed some new oven mitts. My six-year-old asked where someone might buy said oven mitts, and I suggested the loonie store. Well, yesterday my son told his daddy they had to stop at the store. With his own allowance (the kids earns only $2 per week) he chose a stylin' pair of oven mitts. What a sweetheart! He brought his gift home as proud as could be. You can be sure those mitts will be put to good use! (In fact, I believe my husband might have used them for the first time last night!)
Bake some cheesecake and pull up a chair. We're having a party! Today The Ink Spot has reached a significant milestone. (Or perhaps it's a mille-stone?)
This is officially my blog's 1000th post.
Gosh, that's a little bit scary. Who knew this blogging experiment would last so long? Thanks so much for tagging along for the ride. You've graciously endured my random musings, mundane blather and an embarrassing load of navel gazing.
Like everyone else in the world, our family is watching our pennies these days. I've had several friends ask for cheap and easy recipe ideas lately. Budgeting is a common concern! Since I plan to stre-t-c-h our leftovers this week, I thought I'd share a couple of simple, frugal recipes.
I make this dish when we have leftover spaghetti and meat sauce (an easy and economical meal in and of itself). I always seem to make more spaghetti than we need but hate to let it go to waste. This casserole freezes very well.
Cooked spaghetti (we like whole wheat)
Spaghetti sauce (with meat or without)
Small broccoli florets (fresh or frozen)
Shredded cheese (we like low-fat cheddar)
Combine spaghetti and meat sauce. If you'd like, add extra veggies such as shredded carrot, mushrooms or pureed squash. Place in a large casserole dish and arrange broccoli on top. (If you use fresh broccoli, steam it for a couple minutes first.) Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes, until heated through.
Chili and Cornbread Casserole
We often seem to have leftover chili in our house. I can usually find a container or two in our freezer! We enjoy both meatless or beefy chili, and this recipe works with whatever type you have on hand.
1 C. cornmeal
3/4 C. flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. milk (I usually mix up powdered milk to use in baking)
1/4 C. oil
3/4 frozen kernel corn, thawed
Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in one bowl. Whisk together milk, oil and egg in another bowl. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in corn.
Arrange chili in a casserole dish. Spoon cornbread mixture on top and smooth flat. Bake at 400F for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cornbread comes out clean. (Alternately, this recipe makes one dozen cornmeal muffins or one 9-inch square cornbread cake.)
My friend Sara has another delicious suggestion for using up leftover chili right here.
Have fun cooking at home, get creative with leftovers, and save a few pennies in the process!
Last week's menu went over surprisingly well with our family. The pierogis were a hit with the kids, the orange chicken recipe was delicious, and our homemade pizza turned out great. (As requested, I will share the orange chicken recipe below.) This week I am trying to get away with skipping my regular shopping trip, so I'll cobble together our menu with ingredients I already have on hand.
Monday: No cooking (supper with my parents)
Tuesday: Spaghetti pie, sliced apples
Wednesday: Chili and cornbread casserole, green salad
Friday: No cooking (Ben is in charge of my birthday supper!)
The following chicken recipe is flavourful and easy. The sauce is especially good with rice. (I substituted whole grain rice and red peppers for our family.)
Orange Chicken with Vegetables
1 Tbsp. plus 1/3 C. cornstarch, divided
1 C. orange juice
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 lb. chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 C. chopped green pepper
1 1/2 C. sliced fresh carrots
1/2 C. chopped onion
Combine 1 Tbsp. cornstarch, orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place remaining cornstarch in a large resealable bag. Add chicken, a few pieces at a time, and shake to coat. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken in 2 Tbsp. oil for 7-9 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.
In the same skillet, saute carrots in remaining oil for 2 minutes. Add green pepper and onion, saute 2-3 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender crisp. Stir cornstarch mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add chicken and heat through. Serve with hot cooked rice.
Yield: 4 servings
Thanks to Org Junkie for hosting Menu Plan Monday each and every week!