Thursday, October 29, 2015

Thirty Before Thirty Part 1

So thirty is coming up and I've been thinking really hard about things I might do before I turn thirty. I think it's traditional to have a list of thirty things but I can't think of that many! Here's my 10 before 30 list:
  1. Visit the Desert of Maine
  2. Read a representative sample of Martin Luther King Jr.'s works
  3. Can some food
  4. Read the Gospels
  5. Start using Photos instead of iPhoto
  6. Start a real retirement savings account, investment not just savings
  7. Join an organization in my new community
  8. Use my sewing machine and the Lilly fabric I bought to make something (a shift or circle skirt)
  9. Buy a headboard for our bed
  10. Finish one of my long neglected needlework projects
No skydiving here! I'm too grounded. Do you have any suggestions to help me round out my 30 before 30 list?


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

“I hope I die before I get old ...”

So I saw TIME Magazine’s cover story while I was checking out at the grocery store … it’s “Help! My Parents are Millennials.” Now I haven’t actually read the story because I have no time to read a magazine, I have kids to care for after all and they take up so much of my time and their wonderful but also they take up so much time. But I’ve seen so many articles about people my age written by people who were my age 20 or 30 years ago. 

And I’m just fed up. I didn't spring fully formed and full of wisdom from my parent's head and neither did anyone else my age. We were born and our parents taught us how to use a spoon, how to read, and how to live in the world. So, it's really galling when people older than us talk about how we're messing everything us because the same people who are complaining about us are the same people who taught us how to do the things were doing.

When I was a kid, I was told that the way to success in life was to do well in school and to have lots of schooling. I was taught that the financial benefits of that were so great that I wouldn't really need to worry about the student loans I took out to get that education. I suspect most of my peers were told the same things by their parents. Schools have focuses on getting kids into college at the exclusion of more practical education. But what I guess our parents didn't take into account is the fact that a college education is way more expensive than it was when they went to college (between the time my dad graduated from college and the time I went to college (about 35 years) tuition at our alma mater increased ten fold).

I feel like we did as we were told and we're being punished and ridiculed for it now. I am willing to take rsponsibility for the mistakes I've made but I feel like the adults who taught us how to be shouldn't blame us for the circumstances were in now with out also taking responsibility for the fact that maybe they didn't teach us as well as they could have.

Also, the title of this post references The Who's My Generation. It seems like generational conflict is just a part of modern American life.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Trip Home Recap #throwbackthursday

So, at the end of the summer Hubs and I loaded up my in laws mini van with two kids and their stuff and drove out to visit my parents.

It was the experience of a life time and I now why my parents drove ALL night when we went on road trips when I was a's so much easier when things are quiet.

We celebrated two birthdays! A Kiddos' (all she wanted was a Batman cake) and my Dad's!

We went to the Shedd and the Brookfield Zoo. Both my parents enjoyed walking round with the Kiddos and seeing things. I was disappointed by the lack of educational information disseminated by the Shedd, it seemed to be look at these cool animals and then learn nothing about why they're so cool! The Zoo was slightly better. Hubs and the little kiddo saw a bear poop, it was the highlight of Hubs day.

We went swimming at my mom's new place near Lake Zurich and I got a tiny frap from the Lake Zurich Target. And, almost all the pictures I took were pictures of the Kiddos so I can't share them. :(

I also brought back a ton of stuff from my childhood bedroom. So now I have even more boxes of books sitting around in my house here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pumpkin Candies

When life gives you pumpkins, you make pumpkinaide? If you do let me know how it tastes. I used my cups and cups of fresh pumpkin puree to make candy. Pumpkin pie caramels to be exact. I saw the recipe on The Kitchen Prep. Her recipe was for pumpkin "turtles," those caramel, chocolate, and pecan goodies. She "adapted" the caramel recipe from Challenge Dairy. There will be left over caramel. You will want a candy thermometer and maybe lab goggles since caramel is HOT.

I made some caramel pecan chocolate candies and had plenty of leftover caramel for just caramels. I did not change Dianna's recipe at all, so pop over there and check it out. (If you're going to store these for a while or send them, you should temper the chocolate before you use it or use quik melt fake chocolate stuff.) I did learn some things actually making the caramel so I've reproduced my version of that recipe below my prep picture. I don't have any pictures of the finished product--that tells you something. My husband doesn't like caramel but he liked these because the texture was different, softer, than store bought caramels.


Pumpkin Caramel
½ cup (1 stick) Salted Butter (add ¼ teaspoon of salt to a stick of unsalted butter)
1½ cups white sugar (maybe next time I'll try brown sugar or adding a little molasses)
½ teaspoonground cinnamon
½ teaspoonground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
A dash of cloves if you're feeling brave
1 cup light corn syrup*
1⅓ cup (14 oz. can) sweetened condensed milk
½ cup 100% pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice could be substituted for cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground allspice.

Line a 9" square pan with parchment paper and grease it. In a heavy 2 to 3 quart sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and spices, blend throughly. Add corn syrup, sweetened condensed milk, and pumpkin slowly and mixing well after each addition. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching until the temperature reaches 248°F (firm ball stage). Remove from heat and pour into pan. Cool. Cut candy in to small squares (less than 1") and wrap in wax paper. Store in an airtight container.


*One thing I vividly remember about growing up in Illinois is a man from Big Corn came to talk to our elementary school class about corn and he brought in corn syrup and told us to put it on our pancakes.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pumpkin Pie, 21 Day Fix Style

21 Day Fix Pumpkin Pie


1 can pumpkin (2 cups pureed roasted pumpkin or other winter squash)
1 cup nonfat skim milk
1/4 cup powdered stevia extract (or other non-nutritive sweetener)
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
dash cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray

Prepare a pie pan with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Combine the pumpkin, milk, sweetener, eggs, molasses, spices, and salt in medium bowl and stir until smooth. Pour mixture into pie pan or ramekins. Bake for 15 minutes at 425ºF. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F; bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes or until knife inserted 1-inch from the edge comes out clean. Cool the pie before serving. This recipe serves eight. Store in the refrigerator.

It was hard to get out of the pie pan.

Container Break Down
2/3 green container
1/4 red container

The 21 Day Fix Eating Plan allows 2 cups (8 oz.) of of coffee and tea a day. Each cup of coffee or tea can have 1 to 2 tablespoons nonfat skim milk and 1 to 2 teaspoons of raw sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave syrup, or stevia. If you don't have coffee or tea you can use the coffee and tea allowance of 1/4 cup and up to 4 teaspoons of sugar for other things like PIE! Each slice of this pie has 1/8 (2 tablespoons) cup of milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons of stevia and 3/4 teaspoons of molasses.

1 cup of diced winter squash equals one green container. One cup of diced pumpkin yields about 1/3 cup of pumpkin puree.

Roasted Pumpkin

Inspired by my favorite pumpkin pie recipe published by eagle brand and this light and crustless pumpkin pie recipe. Per the reviews on the crustless pie recipe, it might be nice to bake it in ramekins.

Roasted Pumpkin Becoming Pumpkin Puree

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Pumpkin Pancakes

Fall has turned into being all about that squash, that squash being pumpkin. But I still think of fall as apple season. Late in September my maternal family would head up to Edward's Orchard to go apple picking, buy apple cider, and eat the absolute best apple cider doughnuts. To me fall is all about harvesting apples. But sometimes you buy a pie pumpkin (for the seeds of course) at the store and end up with quarts of fresh roasted pumpkin puree. So, here's a recipe for pumpkin pancakes!

Various Winter Squashes in Various Forms

Pumpkin Pancakes
Makes about fifteen two tablespoon of batter pancakes

3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 cup whole wheat flout
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pinch to 1/8 teaspoon cloves (optional)

Grease and heat the pan on medium. Mix liquid ingredients and sugar. Mix the dry ingredients. Gently mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients. Add the batter to the pan. Flip when bubbles form in the batter and the bottom of the pancake is brownish.

Inspired by Mark Bittman's Everyday Pancakes (his pancake making instructions are the best if you need more detail than I've provided) and Eagle Brand's Pumpkin Pie.

I hope you enjoy,

PS I'm sorry about my spotty posting. I try to post Tuesdays and Thursday and I was able to do that before our kiddos joined us. I will definitely be posting every Thursday (because when I realize that I've forgotten on Tuesday, I'm extra motivated to get a post scheduled for Thursday).

Thursday, October 1, 2015

No Spend October

October is going to be No Spend October for me. I bought a lot in Spetember.

I ordered a better sweater jacket, two pairs of the warmest long underwear bottoms and a long underwear top from Patagonia. I placed a large order at Target for some kiddo clothes and throw blankets for the kids to use because they keep draging their bed comforters all over the house. I also got new pillow cases and a throw blanket for me. I bought a TON of blue pens from Jet Pens (this site is so awsome) and Amazon because I am a lawyer and pens are very important to me and I've been having trouble finding ones that I like to use that don't bleed thru legal pads. I also picked up a bible translated to a third grade reading level, an external hard drive to back up my computer now that I carry it aroud with me regularly (we had shared an external hard drive for back ups between our two computers but I wasn't backing up my computer often because I had to detach it from my husband's iMac and recconect it to my MacBook and there's no convient place for my MacBook to sit next to the iMac), and a charchol odor absorber since the kiddos like perfume and I do not Then I bought some new tights and bras because Bare Necessities is have a sale. All these purchases were justifiable but not entierly necessary.

My Rules Are:
I'm not spending money on me this month. I can spend money on consumables and replacements for necessary things. So I'll be gassing up my car and buying groceries as usual. I'll be replacing things as they break if they are things that really add value to my life. I'll also be buying gifts to give to people if I see something they like that is on sale--my dating anniversary, my mom's birthday, and Christmas are all coming up. I won't eat out of my own initiative. If my family wants to go out to eat, I will. I'll go out to lunch or eat lunch out once no more than once a week if my co-workers or work schedule demand.

Let's see how this goes!