Poor girl’s tea latte

January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am an avid coffee drinker, however this morning I was really craving a tea latte. The only tea lattes I have had are chai, so I’m not sure if this tastes “right,” but it’s yummy and definitely worth a try!


  • Two Earl Grey teabags (I was out of Earl Grey, but had Twinings Breakfast on hand, so that’s what I used)
  • A cup of milk (approximately)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (vanilla flavored syrup would be better)
  • Sugar or sweetener, to taste


  • Boil water and pour into a mug making it half full.
  • Place teabags in mug and allow to steep for 3-5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, add vanilla to milk and heat on the stovetop, whisking until milk is warm and foamy. (I used a steamer attachment I have on my espresso maker, but I will probably often use the stovetop method because it is less cleanup).
  • Remove teabags from mug and pour milk, adding foam on top.



Sweater remake

January 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

As one of my goals this year is to repurpose items that I don’t use into things that I will use, I decided to try changing a pullover sweater I never wear (that I’ve had since high school!) into a an open sweater that I can just shrug on and off. I am not an amazing seamstress, but I think this project turned out well for me, and I am very happy with it!

Here’s what I used:

  • An old pullover sweater
  • A sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • A needle and thread

Here’s what I did (see photos below):

  1. I separated the “v” at the bottom of the neckline and cut along the horizontal seam, separating the two folds making them into “tabs.”
  2. Then, I found the middle of the sweater and cut a straight line vertically, following the knitted pattern down the length of the sweater.
  3. Next, I re-sewed the bottom horizontal section of the “v”, then  folded the raw vertical edge under and sewed.
  4. I then folded the “v” in such a way that the folded part at the top of the neckline slowly tapered down to the end. I sewed it horizontally, then vertically to ensure it would stay.

Finally, the base of the neckline wanted to turn out and expose the seams on the inside, so I simply got some black thread and tacked down the edge of the fold so that it tapered smoothly. And there you have it, a repurposed sweater!

Sister Jess’s Black Bean Burritos

January 27, 2012 § 2 Comments

You’ll have to forgive me that I don’t have a beautiful photo of a nicely assembled black bean burrito to show you…I had just gotten back from a long run (well, long for me!) and was too ravenous to pause and take a photo, not to mention my photos are full on my phone and I need to upload them to my computer. So, instead you get the leftovers piled into a freezer bag for an easy pre-made meal…I know it’s not as appetizing, but I promise this is so good, and the picture does not do it justice. Here’s my sister’s recipe:


  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 Cups chopped onions
  • 4 Cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 3 Tsp chili powder
  • 6 Cups cooked rice (about 2 cups uncooked)
  • 2 Cans black beans (about 3.5 cups)
  • 2 Cups frozen corn
  • Salt to taste


Heat oil, chopped onions and chopped garlic into a skillet. Once onions are translucent, add cumin, chili powder, rice, black beans and frozen corn. Serve once it’s heated through.

You can serve this plain, with sour cream and cheese on a tortilla or with tortilla chips and a veggie, which generally can make it last for more than one meal. Since we have such a small family, I was able to make enough for at least two dinners, if not three.

Side note: I added about 1/8 cup chopped cilantro to the rice, and also added Tabasco sauce to taste. This is delicious!

A quick grocery trip

January 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Of course, shopping with an 11-month-old (well, any child at that) is never truly quick, though some trips are more quick than others. I saw a few decent deals at Harris Teeter when I was perusing through the money saving and couponing blogs I frequent, and decided a shopping trip for a few items would be worth it. I was able to get the above items for $5.27 plus tax. Here’s what I got:

  • Whole roaster chicken (this was an unplanned buy, but the price was good): $2.88
  • Carnation evaporated milk: $0.49 each (2)
  • Ortega refried beans: $0.49 each (2)
  • Frank’s Red Hot sauce: $0.14
  • Halls cough drops: $0.14 and $0.15 each
  • Always Infiniti pads: FREE

Here’s the breakdown if you are interested:

The Carnation evaporated milk was on sale for $0.99 each (which is pretty standard at most other stores), but I had a $0.50/2 coupon (doubled to $1.00/2  [A great aspect of shopping at Harris Teeter is that they double any coupon under the value of $1.00]) which made it $0.49 each. Not a fantastic deal, but evaporated milk has saved me countless times when I was in the middle of a recipe and ran out of milk sooner than I thought I would. Therefore, if I can get a can for $0.50 or less, it’s a worthy purchase in my mind.

It was the same deal with the Ortega refried beans. They were each on sale for $0.99, and I used a $0.50/2 coupon (which doubled), thus making them $0.49 each.

Now comes the fun part. Frank’s Red Hot sauce was listed as a Buy One Get One Free deal. Another one of Harris Teeter’s redeeming qualities (other than doubling coupons up to $0.99 in value) is that their B1G1s ring up at half price, meaning if you only want one, you get to pay half price rather than being forced to get two of an item when you may only want one. If you have a coupon for that item, then you get to pay even less. This was the case with the hot sauce. Frank’s Red Hot sauce was on sale as a B1G1 for $3.29, making it $1.64 for one, and I had a $0.75 coupon which was doubled (-$1.50), making the final cost $0.14!

The Halls cough drops were on sale B1G1 for $2.29 ($1.14 each). I had a $0.50/2 coupon. Yet another good thing about Harris Teeter is that they have online VIC customer store coupons that are attached to your card. The catch here is that you have to go online to your account and you have to save the items to your card, but if you do that, you can have even more savings! So, if you have a store (VIC) coupon, you are able to stack it with a manufacture (MFR) coupon. So in this case, I had a VIC coupon for $1.00/2 saved to my card. That stacked with the MFR ($0.50/2 doubled to -$1.00/2) equaled $0.29 for both!

The Always Infiniti pads were on sale for $3.99, and I had a $2.00/1 coupon and stacked it with another $2.00/1 VIC coupon, which made them FREE!

I am certainly not a pro couponer, and definitely not one of those extreme ones you find on TV, but it is a practical way for me to meal plan, stay on budget and save money. Do I love it? No. If we made a million dollars a year would I still do it? Probably not. However, it is something I can do fairly easily (once I got past learning how it all works) and I have to admit I get a little thrill spending $5.27 instead of the $24.78 it would have cost me if I hadn’t shopped the sales and used coupons (granted, at any other store all this probably would have cost me $15-$20), but I saved at the very least $10 on items that I will use within a week or two. And that, I like very much.

The pink night sky

January 21, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tonight it is snowing. It hasn’t snowed much this year at all, and I absolutely love it. It’s beautiful, soft, quiet. It gives me a good excuse to sit and read a book, work on a project, or simply catch up on housecleaning or some tv. Tonight, tonight is a memory night, when I looked out the window and saw the pink night sky.

I just recalled to my husband one of my favorite snow memories. When I was 5 my parents took the four of us children (well, it may have just been my dad and the three of us girls, my mom might have stayed home with my baby brother…either way, I know it was at least my dad and us three girls) to see the Rescuers Down Under at a local theater that was walking distance from our townhouse. I remember coming out of the theater, and first seeing the snow on the ground and then the pink sky filled with falling snow and the street light glow. I remember my younger sister, who I think must have been in the 3-year-old phase of obstinately dressing herself, because she was wearing her jelly sandals with socks. I remember being jealous because she got a piggyback ride from my dad the whole way home because her feet were so inappropriately clad for the weather.

But I also remember skipping in the snow, twirling in the snow and looking up at the sky. As pink was my favorite color at the time, and still is one of my favorites to this day, I thought it was the most beautiful thing. It was night. But the sky was pink. And I still think it’s beautiful.

Love this one

January 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

I love this guy. He brings so much joy into my life. Right now he is sitting at my feet with his toothbrush in his mouth (his new favorite “toy”) deciding whether or not to fuss. He’s teething, and has a lessened appetite and is clingy. And sometimes, it drives me nuts. But he is a quickly growing up baby boy who needs the comfort of his momma…or not, as he just crawled away and is now standing on the bottom stair leading to our third floor, shaking the baby gate door, toothbrush still in fist.

In regards to the photos above: I took them earlier this week. I was trying to put on his clothes after taking his jammies off, but he grabbed his onsie and crawled away with it as quickly as he could, giggling away. So, this little photo shoot ensued. These were basically the only ones that weren’t super fuzzy. I try to document these moments, because they truly are precious.

I will take a whiny, clingy, not feeling well baby any day. It’s my job and my calling, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love you, Rafe-man.

Roasted Poblano Pepper Corn Chowder

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

As I was planning my menu this past Saturday I saw a recipe on Epicurious.com for a Poblano Corn Chowder recipe. This recipe was my inspiration, however what I actually did is a bit different. Here’s my recipe:


  • 2 cans creamed style corn
  • 1 can corn kernels, drained
  • 2 poblano peppers, roasted and chopped
  • 4 (small) celery stalks, chopped finely
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped carrot (I used pre-shredded carrots and just ran my knife over it a few times)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pepper to taste


Wash and then place the two poblano peppers on a baking sheet and place under the broiler, turning with tongs until mostly blackened. Once blackened, immediately place peppers in a plastic zip-able bag and let sit for about 15-20 minutes. Take peppers out of bag and peel the skins off. Chop the tops off, slice open, and scrape seeds out of pepper. Roughly chop the peppers.

Chop up onions, celery and carrots. Put them in a stockpot with melted butter and olive oil. Sauté  until the onions are transparent, then add the chopped peppers. Sauté for a few minutes, add chicken broth, 2 cans of creamed corn and 1 can of corn kernels. Whisk 2 tbsp flour with cup of milk, then add to stockpot. Finally, add chopped cilantro. Serve as is, or with sour cream.

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