Sunday, November 24, 2013

Fake it 'til you make it: Toilet edition

Look what we found in our downstairs toilet tank! Two large rocks, a container filled with small rocks, and a salad dressing jar filled with what we hope is water.

I know it's a lifehack to save water, but admit it. If you saw a jug of bleu cheese and the beginnings of a zen garden in your potty, you'd be alarmed. At least for a moment. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Writing on the wall

The past few weeks have been spent taking down wallpaper. The kitchen, dinette, and two bedrooms came down easy, but I swear the foyer, stairway, and upstairs hallway paper were put up with Krazy Glue.
Not just for fingers!
After much frustration and ripped drywall, I finally found a winning combination. Roman's Piranha wallpaper remover concentrate diluted in a garden sprayer, and an electric steamer. It's time consuming, but the wallpaper is coming down so much easier now. 

Along the way, I've found some interesting things written on the wall, probably by the original builder.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The not-so-reluctant homeowner!

So... this happened.

Time to revive this blog and chronicle my adventures and misadventures in homeownership!

Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mango and chili powder: Good snack, or GREAT snack?

My favorite snack as of late is mango and chili powder.

It is so, so good. And good for you! I was proud of myself for coming up with it, until I learned it's a pretty common thing.

Some recipes call for salt, lime juice, and other additives. I just cut up a mango, sprinkle chili powder on top, and eat. Though I do love salt, I may have to try that.

I've got a system. I buy firm mangos from the supermarket then ripen them at home for 5-7 days.  After I cut up the ripe mangos, I buy new ones and the cycle continues. For optimal cutting, well, I haven't gotten that down yet. I've been peeling, then slicing (or hacking, whatever), then gnawing the leftover fruit around the pit like Tom Hanks's baby corn in Big.


The National Mango Board's method is way easier, and it's exactly how I cut avocados! Who knew?

I want to work for the National Mango Board so I can tell people I work for the National Mango Board.

What's your healthy snack du jour?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Licensed to Chili

Who doesn't love a good chili? I've been trying to reduce my carb intake, and my usual standby vegetarian recipe with all of its delicious beans just doesn't fit into my plan. Luckily, the first recipe I found when I googled "low carb chili" was a winner. So much so, I've made it twice in two weeks. It's hearty, delicious, easy to make, and you probably have most of these items in your kitchen already. Can't beat that!

Low Carb Chili
Adapted from

  • Water
  • 2 lbs ground meat
  • 1 6-oz can tomato paste
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 8 oz fresh baby bella mushrooms, chopped 
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (add more if you like it hot!)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 3 bay leaves

  1. Chop up the mushrooms, onion, pepper, and garlic. 
  2. Lower right: Two cubes of frozen minced garlic
    Idea credit: Kalyn's Kitchen
  3. Brown meat in a large pot. Drain some or all of the fat, depending on your preference. I used ground turkey the first time, and ground chicken the next.
    Neither meat gave off much fat, so I just left it in. Mmm, fat.
  4. Stir in everything else EXCEPT the tomato paste and water. I like to think the spices soaked into the meat before I added the liquids. Is it true? I don't know. Don't crush my dreams.
  5. Add tomato paste, then water. The original recipe calls for a quart of water, but I did ok with 3 to 3.5 cups + the meat fat, to where it almost covered everything in the pot.  The more liquid you add, the more you'll have to cook off anyway.
  6. Bring everything to a boil, then simmer uncovered until you've reached the desired chili consistency. Took me a few hours. It was pure torture because it smelled so good.

When I first tasted it, it reminded me of sloppy joes, which reminded me of this:

Have you ever cooked anything that unexpectedly reminded you of your youth? I promise that this chili is much better than anything you ever ate in high school. Even that awful frozen pizza that you won't admit you loved.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Non-Rice Krispy Cereal Treats

I don't know why I stopped eating cereal, but I've had a half-empty box of Cheerios for about a year, and an unopened box of Franken Berry since Halloween.

What's a girl to do with old cereal? Add marshmallows!

But Andrea! Doesn't Franken Berry already have marshmallows?

Yes. I fail to see the problem here.

I'm sold! How do I make these delightful confections?

The same way you make Rice Krispies Treats.
  1. Melt half a stick a butter in a big pot.
  2. Dump a whole bag of mini marshmallows into the pot.
  3. Stir until all marshmallows have melted into a blob of fluff-like goodness.
  4. Stir in cereal until desired cereal-to-marshmallow ratio is reached.  I prefer my treats on the goopier side.
  5. Pour into a greased pan and let cool.
While cooling, lick the remaining fluff from the pot and spoon.  Your treats should be ready just as you're about to come down from that sugar high, praise be to General Mills.


I'm tempted to go out and buy the most not-fun cereal I can find and make marshmallow treats with it. Let's be honest, it'd be the only way to get me to eat bran flakes voluntarily.