Happy Leap Year!

Mission: Cancun Ruins 2008


There’s an extra day… so there’s an extra post… what are you doing today with your extra day?



What’s local to me in March?

What is local by you right now?

I had no idea, so I asked the internet what is local to my state and what should be freshest this month.

  • Arugula
  • Asparagus (I still have some in my freezer and Mr. Wonderful does not like them so I won’t buy any yet)
  • Chard (As in burnt meat… I’ll have to look this up)
  • Collard Greens (I’m a good southern girl… love my collards)
  • Fennel
  • Garlic Scapes (I’ve never seen them in stores… I’ll keep any eye out this year)
  • Greens
  • Green Onions
  • Kale (Time to stock the freezer up)
  • Kohlrabi
  • Morels (I have no idea what this is… I’ll look it up)
  • Wild  Mushrooms
  • Nettles (As in Nettle tea? I’ll look it up)
  • New Potatoes
  • Pea Greens (No idea…)
  • Radishes
  • Scallions
  • Turnips

We do have quite a bit that are year-round foods. My assumption is that this is due to storage of root vegetables/pods and greenhouses.

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Shallots
  • Sorrel (I’ll keep an eye out for it)
  • Spinach (We like to buy it frozen as we use it mostly in smoothies or soups)
  • Sweet Potatoes

I’m going to see if I can find out what those unknown items are and see about learning how to use them. Do you have any suggestions or ideas?


February 2012 – Grocery Staples

What did we end up using the most of this month with our at home cooking?

  • Beans
  • Batsmati rice
  • Chicken
  • Pillsbury pizza crust
  • various cheeses
  • Tomato sauce
  • OJ
  • Chocolate milk
  • Frozen onions
  • Thai Peanut Sauce

For a recap: I was sick for about a week and a half this month and Mr. Wonderful was very busy at work for two weeks leading to some very odd schedules for the two of us. We ate out quite a bit this month… I am very sad to admit that.

March will be different though… it has to be… as it cannot go back in time and repeat exactly what February was like… it has more days after all.


Product Review: Art of Tea’s 1896

“Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? – how did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea.”

– Sydney Smith (1771-1845)

I drink tea… a lot of tea. With Mr. Wonderful’s gift of a personal Keurig for my office I drink probably more tea than I should. Though this is one of the tastier teas I have ordered from Art of Tea, it is by no means my favorite (I will review that one later). Still, this review will remain open and honest in my opinion of this tea on its own…  not comparing it to any others.

1897 is fair trade certified. While this does nothing substantial in the flavor of the tea, it does tell you that the quality and standards of life of those that grow and harvest this tea are greater than those who earn below living wage for what they produce. This is neither the time or the place for standing on a soap box… so I will not digress further at this time into the definition of fair trade. There are wonderful explanations on the Art of Tea website and you are more than welcome to go view the videos and learn about what they are doing to ensure a higher quality product.

Please also note that my Keurig is not the recommended way to brew this tea. While it might be the easiest way for me to enjoy tea throughout the day… they recommend steeping 1 teaspoon for 3-5 minutes in 206 degree water. The fill line on my eco-cup is about 2 1/2 teaspoons and I get the best flavor from my 2nd and 3rd cup. And yes… I do brew the same leaves all day at I believe is 165 degrees, but I have no setting control for the temperature. 1897 is a loose tea. You can order empty teabags from Art of Tea or from Amazon or go to the grocery store and get them there if you do not have a strainer or a eco-cup/my-k-cup.

I love that 1897 is a black tea blend and it does hold up well as a black tea even though it does lack a bit of the strength and power one would generally expect from a black tea. That said, if it is steeped for a longer time, at a higher temperature and only brewed once… it would probably be stronger.

1897 has an incredible aroma and it is incredibly calming. It is a book reading on a rainy-day type of tea.

All this said, it is lacking a certain depth. It has the hint of a citrus note from the orange peel and the stomach settling properties of the hibiscus… but is almost malty, but not quite.

I would recommend this to those who are not into incredibly bold black teas, malty tastes and those that are new to blended black teas.


Goals Update: Week 10

Let’s see how well I did with this week …

1. Loose some weight:  31.6 lbs to go to my goal… better than last week, but still not good enough

2. Exercise:  121.9 miles biked total

3. Eat more whole foods: We actually did not do too bad this week. 

4. Pay off some debt: 72%

5. Finish 6 quilts: Headed to the quilt show today to find border fabrics to go around the centers of my almost finished quilts

6. Host 4 dinner parties: 1/4 (#2 is tomorrow)

7. Try 12 new recipes: 4/12

8. Read 12 non-fiction books: 3/12

9. Write at least 100 words a day on my maybe novel… that would be at least 36,500 by the end of the year: % to 36,500 words… I have not wanted on this at all something about not being inspired… maybe it is writers block

10. Go to Ireland… again: no date set

11. Try 12 new wines: 3/12

12. Learn some basic phrases in German: too busy this week

13. Go to Saint Augustine or New York City: not yet

14. Switch banks: not yet

15. Participate in 6 WDC review raids: 1/6… I completely failed last Saturday at completing the raid… Saturdays are a bad day for me for raids.

16. Find a new place to live and move: not yet

17. Attend couples cooking class: not yet

18. Join a meet-up group: Already complete

19. See 6 movies in movie theaters: 1/6

20. Visit 3 new wineries: not yet

21. Get rid of 100 things: I have thrown out quite a bit and given away about 20% of my goal

22. Make cleaning schedule and stick to it: working on it… I don’t think it is a schedule until I follow it for a few weeks

23. Yoga!: not  really with all of the pain in my hand

24. Stay on budget: not too bad this week

25. Take vitamins on regular basis: fail…

26. Date night out at least once a month preferably somewhere new: We went out for our Valentines dinner to El Loro (one of our local favorites) and we were incredibly disappointed by the service… again. We keep going back and hoping that the service goes back to what it once was, but inevitably it is always the same. They forget something… the plates, the silverware, the tortillas, our drinks and this time our cheese dip (a treat we don’t usually order). Next time we want Mexican we’ll be going somewhere new.

42 more weeks to go.


Book Review: Miss Minimalist by Francine Jay

Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify - Francine Jay

So… I am not a minimalist at heart. Sometimes what you want to be is not matched to how you are wired. Francine Jay makes an easy to understand subject more intricate as she allows you to watch minimalism bloom and become more real. It is not the perfectly organized place that we might picture it to be, it is a way of life.

She outlines the path… all I have to do is bumble my way through it.

Please keep in mind as you read this… I am sitting at my desk at home, with at least 40 pencils in the pencil cup on my desk. Also… picture them all unsharpened as I rarely ever use a pencil. Where did they come from? I have no idea. But the idea of removing these unused, not needed and clearly unknown pencils from my desk… scary. They are obviously a decoration at this point. They each have their own thin layer of dust. We don’t even own a pencil sharpener… these really have no hope.

Jay helps to open your eyes to understand that what you have always kept because you may one day need it is not always the best way to see things.

For example: If I really needed a pencil I would have to go out and get a sharpener (or whittle it down and possibly chop off my finger). A sharpener would be another something I would have to store somewhere in this desk. I could always use a mechanical pencil (I have plenty of them) or why am I using a pencil again…

Francine Jay, your book is not a hard book to read; however, it will be a book that I will have to continue to go back to help myself clear the clutter. Perhaps not down to your level, but less of a move for me at a later point.

Thank you Francine Jay!


PS: In case you are wondering… I ditched the pencils. I did keep 4 artist pencils (charcoal and thick lead), but those I would have had to whittle anyways. Also, I did keep a Smencil… it is made from recycled newspaper and smells like chocolate… and the bendy pencil with unbreakable lead… I do play with it while I sit here so for now it can stay.

How Not To Use a Grocery List

I made a list! I almost forgot to take the list with me! I remembered the list! I took the list into Harris Teeter and I kind of… followed/ignored it.

What was on the list?

  • Heavy Cream
  • Paper Towels
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Tortillas
  • H20 for Office
  • Lentils
  • Morels
  • Onion
  • 2 Anaheim Chilies
  • Pitas

What did I come home with?

  • Popcorn (just a bulk bag of it, not a named brand)
  • Lentils
  • Paper Towels
  • Tortillas
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Onion
  • Lunch Bags (to pop the popcorn in)
  • Heavy Cream

So I did manage to get everything on the list and a few other things. But then I realized I needed (but I didn’t get):

  • Snacking Fruit

What do you do when that happens?