My Blog List

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

An Atlanta Spring

Spring came really early for us. We have had 70 degree weather since late February and 80 degree weather the past 2 weeks. It is wonderful! So much better than a Utah Spring, which is colder than an Atlanta Winter. Not to mention it doesn't get permanently warm until, I don't know, late May? The trees seemed to sprout gigantic leaves overnight. Not those tiny, wimpy ones.

I live in a beautiful state! It seems like everyone has these miracle bushes. They looked so ordinary since July. What are they? Not azaleas??? I stink at identifying flowers. David is better than me...

Think of the following two pictures as abstract, not blurry.

Even a lowly front yard looks beautiful in the Spring.

But a non-lowly yard is fantastic.

I would have gotten more pictures of our flowering trees, but they started blooming mid February. There are a few of them still around, though.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Proud of my shopping prowess

Ever heard of the Frugal Girl? She's a pretty, hip, good, christian mother of four with high standards and values. I follow her blog and it was at her insistence that I started to shop at Aldi. Never heard of it? It is somewhat East Coast based and is dedicated to low prices for high-value, no-name products. Read about The Frugal Girl's opinion here.

Well, Atlanta is a stink-pot for their jacked up produce and grocery prices so discovering Aldi has literally halved my grocery bill, or at least a third it. I was particuarly pleased with my most recent trip. Look at all I bought for $35!!!! (PS, if you live in Utah where the prices are rather low, at least try to be happy for me...

The carrots, lemons, onions, cauliflower, and 6 kiwi were all $1 each!

Yes, I did stock up on macaroni and cheese. David adores Aldi's brand; he claims it's better than Kraft. We have balsamic vinegar (if it's good, great! If not, it was 2 bucks.) 4 lbs of pasta, cereal for a rice krispie treat craving, 4 cans of REDUCED FAT Cream of something soup, like dawn dish soup, delish pasta sauce, cream of wheat, pudding for my baking needs (who eats this plain???), and 3 cans of green chilies. I'm pleased.

I also bought 2 dozen eggs and 1 lb of sausage. Score. It's fun being frugal. Cheers!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Williams Sonoma Cookbooks

I absolutely LOVE thrifting. There is something magical about finding something discounted 80 percent or more for brand new. And the Goodwills around Georgia are amazing. DI doesn't even compare with the quality of quantity of the items they sell. 

One thing I'm always on the lookout for are Williams Sonoma Cookbooks as part of a series. I believe this particular series is out of print. 

Yes, the picture is crooked. Made so for easier reading.

I love so many things about this series. The pictures are phenomenal and beautiful. There is a wide selection of recipes, but too many that you feel overwhelmed. And I love how they are organized into genres. The one downside I see is that many of the recipes do not work on a graduate student budget. Meat (other than hamburger and chicken and Parmesan Cheese are sorely missed. 

Favorite Coffee cake EVER is in this book

They've included a few classics, but most are cookies with a modern twist. 

Some of my absolute favorite dishes come from the Grilling Cookbook. 

Downside to this cookbook is that there is a large section devoted to fish I will never eat. 

LOVE this cookbook. So many wonderful, yet different recipes. 

Expensive ingredients here...can't wait until after grad school. :) Or coming home for the holidays. 

This cookbook is actually very accessible and inexpensive...granted we're talking about the potato. 

Do you shop at thrift stores? What are you always on the lookout for? I'm really interested to know!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Visiting Dan

This picture was taken at Thanksgiving. Meet my adopted Grandpa, Dan Clarke. He is Aunt Barbara's father and he will often ask if we're related. Sometimes I'll simply say yes, other times no, and other times I'll explain our intricate pedigree. 

He has dementia and is one of the sweetest men I have ever met. Every time I visit him he'll say: "you're so beautiful! Hot dog! (other times he'll swear, but I find it rathe endearing).You get more beautiful every time I see you!" Even though he says this to a lot of women, it makes me feel really special. He asks: "does your husband treat  you right?" and "your husband's a lucky man!" 

I try to visit him several times a week, but it is getting harder and harder to find the time. I now teach 11 students and Dan is only awake and alert for certain hours of the day, and I can't always be there at the best times. What used to be 1 1/2 visits now only last 1/2 hour because of the amount of sleep he needs. 

My heart loves this guy! I am so glad I have the opportunity to visit him and brighten his day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Favorite Kitchen Tools

If you love to cook as much as I do, undoubtedly you have most of these tools. But, if not, here is my humble opinion concerning the most important non-vital tools in the kitchen. (Assuming vital only includes a pot, wooden spoon, spatula, knives, and cutting board.) 

First is the microplane. I'm pretty sure I squealed when I received these. Stocking and wedding, respectably. A MUST for grating ginger, zesting citrus, and Parmesan cheese. 

The bench scraper. Heaven sent for scraping stuck-on bread dough from the counter. It is also amazing for cutting dough into equal portions--much easier than tearing. 

I could not live with out this dear, small, off-set spatula. It makes frosting cookies and cakes SO much easier. I have two other sizes, but I have found that the smallest is easiest to control. 

As far as I can tell the only purpose for this tiny serrated knife (which came in our knife set) is for cutting tomatoes. But, boy, can you get thin tomato slices with this baby. 

The cookie scoop: So great. I want an even bigger size one too!

Meet the garlic press. So handy. I think I got this one at Ikea.

Frankly, measuring spoons are quite necessary. This Christmas David surprised me with this awesome set. Why it is amazing: 1) 1/8 tsp 2) 3/4 tsp 3) 1/2 Tbsp 4) Heavy 5) narrow so they can fit into spices. David got it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Do you have any favorite tools in the kitchen? Please tell me!