Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thrifty Tip Thursday - Buying meat in bulk

I don't know how often I'll do a "Thrifty Thursday", as thriftiness is something I'm not so hot at. I mean, I have my thrifty ways (Most of my wardrobe is from ROSS, I have no shame buying stuff secondhand), but I could be a whole lot more frugal. Then again, Frugality is its own weird cult online sometimes, so I don't know how much more frugal I want to get. Regardless, I do have a few tricks up my sleeve that work well for me.

One thing that I like to do is to buy meat in bulk and freeze it. Now, if I were REALLY hardcore about it (and had a freezer that could handle it - damn you, apartment living!), I'd go to Costco once every two months and stock up, wrap up, and only have to buy my meat then. As it is, though, I can actually stock up for about a month at my local grocery store (SaveMart is the one we frequent). I buy the "Max Packs" of what we like to eat, or if what we like is on sale. My usual purchases are boneless chicken breasts/thighs, boneless pork chops (The Hubs has a weird thing against bones in meat O__o), and ground turkey and turkey italian sausages when on sale.

Now see, this saves money but it's still not frugal because I would spend less if I bought the bone-in versions or beef/pork versions of the stuff I buy. BUT it still saves me a decent amount. I also spread out the ground turkey a little farther by doing the following.

See, ground turkey (for whatever weird reason) is sold in 20 oz packs. I don't understand it, but I'll still buy it. I used to use an entire 20 oz pack in a recipe, which was usually just a little too much, and seemed wasteful. Now, I automatically break them in half. (Or, if I buy a bigger pack that has 32 oz, I'll break it into fours). Most recipes don't need much alteration to use the half-amount, and it stretches the meat a little further. (I tend to use the ground meat for burgers, hamburger-helper style skillet meals, taco meat, etc.). To freeze it in the individual portions, here's what I do:
Lay out some plastic wrap (and if you have a way to keep it from sticking to itself, PLEASE SHARE OMG IT DRIVES ME NUTS
Plop the meat down (I cut it with a knife, eyeballing it -a scale would probably be more efficient, but, MEH.)

Wrap the top and bottom around it like you're wrapping a gift (Give the Gift of MEAT - sounds like some good copy for Sterling Cooper, eh? ;D)

Wrap the sides around it - I usually wrap the left in front, and the right in back. But I'm weird.

Throw them all in a big ol' ziploc bag to hold them! Defrost as needed. 

I wrap the meat in plastic wrap to help prevent freezer burn a little more. As for the other bulk purchases, I actually pre-portion those out, too. Usually two chops, breasts, or sausages per sandwich sealable bag. Not the greenest option, I realize, but it's quick to do right after a grocery store trip. My mom uses freezer paper (which I need to do) and labels them.  But she also has a separate freezer and goes to Costco, so neh. ;p I pre-portion so I don't need to cook more than necessary (which might tempt me to eat more than necessary!).

Anyway, that's one of my little tricks I do to be a LITTLE more economically savvy. What do you guys do to save a little money on what you like to cook with?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Foodie Friday: A meal fit for Don Draper

I hope my husband will like this!

When I posted my "Anti-Hero Housewife" on Monday, I didn't even make the connection how fitting it was, timing-wise. Why so fitting? Because Sunday is the return of one of the MOST FABULOUS, FASCINATING SHOWS EVER.
Oh yeah. Mad Men is back, ladies. I'm so excited, I'm actually tempted to bust out my 60's-style formal(ish) dress and get myself some pearls for the event. At the very least, I WILL be making a fabulous 60's appropriate meal for the occasion to enjoy while we watch. One plus side of my husband's TV obsession: We have HD, and the AMCHD channel is on East Coast time, even though I live on the West Coast. That means I get to watch the new episode at 7pm! So I get to watch Don Draper in HD 3 hours earlier. I know, I'd hate me too, I understand.

So what's on the menu? Well, it's actually pretty traditional stuff, but I've never tried making it before. I did my research via Food Timeline, and was informed that Swedish Meatballs experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 50's-60's. The Hubs likes them, I like them, and what says 60's more than gravy and buttered noodles? ;D (I was previously considering meatloaf and mashed potatoes, which is even MORE traditional, but the Swedish Meatballs sounds more interesting!) Food Timeline even provides a 1960's version of the recipe! Which is the recipe I'll be using, 'cuz I like to keep it authentic. I'm thinking I might do an Iceberg Wedge salad, too. Again, according to the Food Timeline site, this is how you make it:

DONE. Hahahaha. I prefer blue cheese (which is even more authentic), but The Hubs will probably stick to Caesar or something else not-creamy. =)

To drink? Well, MY favorite old-school cocktail is the Gimlet. I recently discovered it at my last birthday, and it is a perfect mix of the sweet girly drinks that I used to enjoy and straight-up booze. I like sweeter stuff, but I'm done with the candy alcohol. Gimlets are PERFECT. Of course, traditionally they are made with Gin, but now the default is vodka. I don't like gin, but I love me some vodka.  Of course, the drink I really associate with Mad Men is scotch or Martinis, but neither The Hubs or I care for either. =)

Sounds delicious and PERFECT for a viewing of "Mad Men". SO EXCITED!
This is TOTES how I would look in the 60's.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Crafts for the Non-Crafty: DIY Fridge Dry-Erase Board!

FINALLY! The reason I didn't post this sooner is that I wanted to create an easier way to decorate and demo it, but the whole office chair sitch had to be resolved first. It's resolved, it's done, TIME TO POST! WHEEEE!

First, the finished product, then the how-to's:

You like? Pretty, yes? You want your own? Here's the deets.

First, credit where credit's due: This is not an original craft. In fact, the craft has appeared in a couple of different places. (I found one version at Prudent Baby)This is merely my variation on it, and a simpler version as well.

Your finished product will be a great way to jot down notes on your fridge, or even use as a menu planner! Enjoy!

As I posted in the sneak peek, here are the necessary, and the optional, materials:

* Cheap frame (check the dollar store!), at least 8"x10". If you find it in a color you like, skip the optional paint-related materials.
* 1 piece of Scrapbook paper in a pattern you like, at least 8.5"x11"
* Four 3/4" magnets
* mini glue gun (not pictured)
* Paint (optional) - Acrylic works best for wood; if the frame is metal, look for a Metal paint (bottled or spray). If using wood, I recommend buying at least one bottle of solid white paint to help make the main color POP a little more.
* Sealer for the paint job (Read the labels - you'll want one that works for wood if your frame is wood, same with metal) (optional)
* fine sandpaper (if using wood frame)
* Paint brush (optional - only if you're painting) - I like sponge brushes, cheap and work well.
* 1 piece of vellum paper (optional)
* Spool of thin ribbon (optional)
* patterned rub-ons (optional - not pictured)

If you're wondering about the costs, I can't give you an exact amount due to having all these materials on hand already, so this was free for me. =) But the frame can be found for cheap, the paper is cheap, mini glue guns are usually no more than $5, and the magnets might set you back about $3-4. If you decided to paint it and add rub-ons, that might add about $6-10, too, depending on what you buy . So my estimate, if you're buying everything new and as cheap as you can, the cost might get as high as $15. BUT, if you find a frame you like and don't need to alter the appearance, this project could be as cheap as $10 (again, buying everything new).

The Steps:
1. Take your frame apart. Remove the glass and the frame backing. Plug in the mini glue gun, making sure it's set over paper or something (as the glue will drip a little once it's warmed up).

2. On the frame backing, eye where you want to place the magnets. Make sure the magnets will be clear of the frame once the frame is re-applied! Once you've placed them where you want them, Lift them up one at a time, squirt a little of the hot glue, then re-place the magnet over the glue. (Don't worry about those little strings - we'll trim them away when the glue's dry!) Repeat with all the magnets. Set aside and DON'T TOUCH until you're done with everything else - it'll give the glue ample time to dry.

3. Take the glass and apply it to the side of the scrapbook paper you don't want to use. Trace the frame's shape along the paper, then cut out the paper according to the tracing. DONE. (Oh, and go windex the glass if it's dirty.)
I demo'd this on the wrong side - ignore my mistakes. xD

3A. Here's where the vellum comes in, if needed - IF you really love the print of your paper, but you're afraid it'll be hard to read writing on it, this is what the vellum is for. Vellum will kind of tone down the print, like a thin fog over it, but the print will still be visible behind it, I assure you! It'll just make any writing you do on the glass easier to see. Trace and cut it just like you do the paper.
4. Prep the frame for alteration, if necessary. (This step is if you are changing the frame's appearance; if not, skip this step!) For a wood frame (which I used), sand down any unsmooth spots first. This is really easy - just rub the paper back and forth until the rough spots go away (extra-fine sandpaper will do this without altering the surface drastically). Then apply at least one layer of white paint, if using acrylic paint. If you don't mind the wood grain showing through your paint, you can skip this step for a wood frame, but if you want a solid color base, you'll need to use the white paint.
5. Once the frame is primed, paint! Make sure you cover the front of the frame, then the sides. Don't worry about the back - it's going to be up against the fridge, who's gonna know? ;D Let the first coat dry, then give it one more coat. IF you're using spray paint, paint the frame OUTSIDE and with lots of paper under it to protect the ground - esp. if you're like me and live in an apartment. Don't want THAT coming out of your deposit!
This version, I used a pearly white paint without a base coat. It basically white-washed the wood, but I liked the end result, so it was a happy accident!
6. If you are happy with the frame just being a new neat-o color, then go ahead and seal your frame according to the sealer instructions. If you want a little more OOMPH, here's where the rub-ons come in. I would recommend cutting the rub-ons into strips to fit the width of the frame sides first, then place them close to each other, end-to-end, to create a seamless design.
The right side of the design that's a little blurry is how the rub-on looks when you've rubbed it on sufficiently. If you HAVEN'T rubbed it on the surface enough, it'll look more like the design's left side.
This was the design as a whole, and how I cut it into strips. I measured the frame first, then cut from there.
Once the rub-ons have all been, well, rubbed, SLOWLY peel off the top opaque paper. If the rub-on comes back up with the top paper, gently lay it back down and try again; sometimes it needs a little more elbow grease is all. THEN seal your frame according to the sealer instructions.
Ta-Da! This is the easier decorated version I made. Seriously, paint and rub-ons, that's it.
7. ALMOST DONE, HOME-STRETCH, PEOPLE! Put the glass back in the frame. Put the vellum against the glass (if using), then the printed paper, then the backing with magnets attached (now you can pull away those little glue strings), and lock the backing into place. TA-DA! DONE! You now have a nifty Dry Erase board for your fridge!

Optional variations:
- If you want to use the frame solely for meal-planning, replace the pretty printed paper with a meal-planning print-out! I recommend the adorable "Pots and Pans" one from the OlliBird blog, which is free! (It might need to be resized, depending on the frame size you buy.) A simple 8.5x11 weekly organizer is here, from Perideau Designs (found via The Frugal Life Project)

- If are a crafty sort like myself and know how to emboss, embossing looked pretty cool! Learn from my Martha Screwups and use a stamp that has fine, thin-lined detail, and don't press down so hard. I still like how it turned out from far away, but I wish half the sections weren't so mottled. (The first project example, with the embossing, is what inspired me to try the rub-ons, - less chance of screwing up!)
This is ultimately the one I put on my fridge, 'cuz I simply like it better for MY kitchen. I really love the silver one, too, though.
- To attach a dry erase marker, simply get some stick-on velcro (MAKE SURE it's stick-on! I'm experienced, and I STILL almost bought the sew-on! Sheesh!). It's a good, sticky glue so you don't NEED to glue-gun it, but I did for the wood just in case. I wrapped the soft side around the marker, and then I put a small strip of glue in the middle of the frame and put the scratchy side on the glue. Gave the glue a minute to dry, then trimmed the sides. Now I always have the pen handy!
The scratchy-side, glued down and trimmed

So, as you can see, a fairly easy project for the novice crafter! Hopefully the pictures and instructions are helpful and easy to understand; this is my first tutorial EVER, so feedback is welcome and appreciated!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Housewife Anti-Hero: Betty Draper

Screencap c/o Tom and Lorenzo (who are fabulous).
Image c/o "Mad Men" on AMC. Please don't sue.
Here on Hot Mess Housewife, I want to take a moment to recognize all the pop-culture housewives who are the antithesis of June Cleaver. While we all aspire to be as seamlessly perfect as Mrs. Cleaver, she also lived in a time where her husband could earn a living wage to support a family of 4, so her ass could stay at home and actually HAVE THE DAMN TIME to maintain a perfect household. In all fairness, she was also expected to look flawless 24/7 and had no real equality in society... but I digest.

SO, let's look at the other domestic divas of pop culture who are the antithesis of June; who suck at housework (or straight up refuse), who think a healthy dinner consists of Kraft Mac and Cheese and Spam, who sass their husbands back and slap their kids around (actually, scratch that last part, I don't condone child abuse).

Our first "honoree" of this dubious distinction is "Betty Draper" of "Mad Men". For those of you who don't watch "Mad Men", her character is the wife of the main character, the dapper Don Draper, head of creative at an ad agency. Betty is his picture-perfect wife, who acts the part of a New York suburban wife while falling apart at the seams thanks to a distant husband who basically uses her as a prop in his pretend-perfect life. Yeah, she's pretty awesome... inasmuch as she makes me feel healthy and normal.

So why is she the "anti-hero housewife"? Well, as an overprivileged upper-class white woman, she shoves most of her work and child-rearing onto her African-American maid, gossips incessantly about her neighbors, and has the maturity of a 5-year-old. I'd give more examples, but then we're venturing into spoiler territory and I don't want to ruin the awesomeness that is "Mad Men". Seriously, WATCH IT. If you gave it one shot and thought it was boring, keep in mind that Mad Men is a slow burn on a long fuse... that is attached to a sh**-ton of dynamite. Seriously, the payoff hurts so good.

Now some of what Betty does we can't judge her on completely. She does smack her kids around a little, but that was acceptable back then (unfortunately); also, most women had the choice of "mother" or "spinster" back then. I mean, they can work for a while (as seen by all those secretaries in the pool in the Sterling Cooper offices), but the expectation was work = husband shopping. Not to mention divorce was more shame-based back then than it is NOW. You simply didn't do it back then!

What can we learn from Betty Draper?
  • Don't marry Don Draper. Seriously. Sleep with him all you like, but marriage is probably not a good idea. 
  • As seen above, plastic bags are totally fine for playing "spaceman" for little kids... as long as the GOD-DAMN DRY CLEANING ISN'T LAYING ON THE FLOOR. (Seriously. That's what the scenecap above is talking about.)
  • Sitting and pouting about stuff, instead of dealing with it, makes you miserable but it beats doing stuff. 
  • Looking as gorgeous as possible is the best way to deal with life... rather than, y'know, actually confronting your issues and dealing with them.
  • When a creepy neighbor kid asks for a lock of your hair to keep after bursting into the bathroom to watch you pee, there's absolutely no other response than to cut the lock of hair for him. I mean, even though you're the responsible adult. and he just tried to watch you pee. No bigs!
  • The neighbor's pigeons are excellent target practice. 
So while Betty Draper does have good housewife aspects (girl knows how to throw a dinner party, yo), she is the 1960's version of a hot mess. Luckily for her, she's flippin' gorgeous and just needs to find a wealthy man to meet her needs, and just ignores that gnawing feeling that her life is actually pretty crappy. So congratulations, Betty Draper, our first Housewife Anti-Hero!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Belated Bastille Day EXTRAVAGANZA!

So I've been busy. We're sharing a car right now, and that means we leave at 6:30 am and don't get home until 5:30 am because our jobs are 30 minute drives apart WITHOUT traffic. *sigh* And as soon as we get home, Miss Daisy needs to PEE LIKE WHOA, and then wants some attention 'cuz she's been home alone all day, poor thing. Oy. Then there's dinner to make and Facebook apps to deal with... it's a busy life, you see. ;D

That said, Bastille Day passed without my getting a proper chance to celebrate it properly. I'm not French, but my EuroMutt husband has some in him (that's what she said), so I use it as an excuse to get all Frenchy with it. If I'd had time to plan, I would've done SOMETHING to celebrate the obscure holiday. Next year, I totally will kick it Marie-Antoinette style. BUT like I said, we're busy. Which has limited my posting. Which simply further proves what a hot mess I am. ;p

So to make it up to you (and still celebrate Bastille Day in some small manner), I present you Miss Daisy as a Frenchman:
But quel fromage! Daisy is a girl! She protests mightily against being portrayed as a french MAN; she ain't no drag king.

Wanting to be a kind, gracious doggie mom, I acquiesce:
Let them eat cake!

She now hates me. The Hubs is letting me post these under protest, as well. Bonne fete!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Music Monday – “Music to Clean to” 80's mix!

When I told The Hubs that I was posting Music Mondays, he asked if I was posting all 80's music - and was shocked when I said NO. See, when we clean, we've agreed to put on the 80's music channel provided through our cable service. It's a good enough variety that I get my 80's new wave and he gets his 80's hair metal. I even play it when I'm the only one cleaning. It's just a good time to dance around to your childhood while doing something you don't even want to do!

So for this mix, I picked some of my favorite 80's new wave songs! This mix works fine in order or on shuffle. They all just WORK together. It's awesome. It'll totally inspire you to do the robot while Windexing your windows.
  • "Manic Monday", The Bangles
  • "Shake It Up", The Cars
  • "Girls on Film", Duran Duran
  • "Just Got Paid", Johnny Kemp
  • "Into the Groove", Madonna
  • "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", Michael Jackson
  • "Goody Two Shoes", Adam Ant
  • "I'll Tumble 4 Ya", Culture Club
  • "Need You Tonight", INXS
  • "Two of Hearts", Stacey Q
  • "Mickey", Toni Basil
  • "Dance Hall Days", Wang Chung
  • "Don't Stand So Close to Me", The Police
  • "Vacation", The Go-Go's
 It's just over 52 minutes - so not quite an hour, but that's plenty of time to get some good cleanin' in.

So get that side ponytail going and throw on your Ray-Bans, and get to cleaning! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Foodie Friday (+1) - And in the morning... I'm making WAFFLES!

If you noticed my Twitter last week, I happily tweeted (twitted? twatted? w/e) that I made waffles for the first time! And no one died! That's what makes it a real accomplishment.

For some reason, I'm always nervous when I try to make something for the first time, it scares me. I don't like to fail (which makes the whole point of this blog rather ironic), so I tend to put it off. Breakfast foods are even more intimidating for some reason - probably because we (The Hubs and I) aren't big breakfast people. BUT I had a ton of blueberries to use up from our failed July 4th breakfast plans, and The Hubs doesn't like eggs so I needed a way to use them up in a way he'd eat them. (In his defense, though, he offered to just eat bacon and sausage for breakfast. *rolls eyes*)

I searched on the Big Oven app I have on my iPhone (it's a 3GS, don't get too jealous), and found a basic waffle recipe that seemed relatively easy. I busted out the waffle iron we received as a wedding gift *cough3yearsagocough*, and got to mixin'. The waffle iron we have is a Cuisinart, and it made the waffle timing stupidity-proof - which means I even figured it out! xD (There's a light that switches from orange when cooking to green when done... I'd let it sit an extra minute to help crisp up the waffles after the green came on.)

The recipe (courtesy of princessfiona on Big
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs, well-beaten
  • 1/2 stick butter unsalted, melted (add more for a crispier waffle - I didn't do this, but I might next time!)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  1. Pre-heat the waffle iron until it's good and hot.
  2. Whisk together the DRY ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the WET ingredients in a separate bowl. Make a well in the dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients into the well. Whisk gently... the batter should have a pebbly look when mixed. 
  3. At this point, you can add a 1/2 cup of anything you'd like. (I added fresh farmer's market blueberries!)
  4. Add about 1/2 cup of batter to the hot iron, close the lid and DO NOT OPEN until the steam has almost stopped (or your light switches to green xD). If not serving immediately, keep warm in a 200-degree F oven. 
 The waffle-cooking line! Whooo!

What I learned:
  • I'm going to add a little more than a 1/2 cup of blueberries, or try adding the blueberries to each serving individually, next time. Might even mottle them a bit first, to get more blueberry goodness! I might also add a little vanilla extract next time - I think it'd add a little richness.
  •  Try to keep the batter to the middle as much as you can. If they go too much to the left or right, they ooze over. Not that it's a big deal, but it gets messy.
  • Oh, and I'm going to try cooking spray next time - these suckers stick like whoa, even when cooked and crispy! I had to pop them off with a spatula, haha.
  • These are very tasty, but not very sweet. A great transport for maple syrup - unless you don't like maple syrup, like me. xD Still liked them, though!
  • Don't stack them on top of each other while waiting to serve them - they get soggy. Eh heh. (I learn these things for you! So you don't make the screwups I make! Eh heh, yeah, that's the ticket...)
  • These freeze BEAUTIFULLY. I layered wax paper between each one in a big ziploc bag, and to use them in my toaster, I just cut 'em in half and pop 'em in. Quick, tasty breakfast! LOVE IT. 
To eat them, we cooked bacon on the Foreman (which makes me feel like a dork (or Michael Scott), but whatever, it worked) and buttered them up. We didn't have maple syrup, but now we have a reason to buy some - 'cuz I can make waffles! WHOOOO!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A walking Martha Screw-Up

All right, I called this here blog "Hot Mess Housewife" for a reason. Gotta keep it real.

So I had big plans for this July 4th. Big. HUGE. We were going to have friends come over, I was going to make breakfast for everyone (egg sandwiches and berry salad) before we went to watch the parade that passes very close to our apartment! After that, our friends (who have a great backyard w/ a pool) were going to host us and BBQ.

Woke up with my 3rd cold in the last month and a half. MOTHERF*****. So we canceled on our friends, and I slept for half the day. It turned out to be a one-day thing, at least. I'm still blowing my nose and coughing, but other than that I feel fine. Annoyed, but fine.

I married my husband for a reason, though: he is also not a good housewife. Worse than me, even - doesn't cook, lazy about cleaning, isn't interested in decorating the house... ;D He is also not a handyman, but dammit, he tried.

After the damn evil chair broke my back for the 3rd time, The Hubs insisted that we get a new office chair. So we got a REALLY nice one, and paid Office Max $10 to assemble it for us. They told us to pick it up the next day, it'd be put together first thing in the morning. The Hubs went the next day to pick it up at 5:30 pm... STILL IN THE BOX. YEAH. At least we were refunded our assembling fee.

So it was up to The Hubs to put the chair together. In his defense, he read the directions carefully and really tried, but it just didn't work. He actually got the body together, but the arms wouldn't screw in right, and he was getting SO G-D FRUSTRATED. Poor guy. =( I felt so bad. So we're going to call the number on the box (there's a label that says "DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE STORE" and gives a number to call for assembly help) tomorrow, and if all else fails, we're callin' a lesbian. (Seriously. My cousin is a stereotypical lesbian in that she's awesome with fixing stuff. She also likes to sleep with women.)

Yeah, we're a mess. I did have a small victory this week, though, which I'll be sharing on Foodie Friday this week. Just to prove I'm not constantly failing at life being a housewife.

ETA 7/9/10: THE HUBS FIXED THE CHAIR! He didn't even need to call the number, he figured out the issue and fixed it! It's so pretty and comfy! Of course, this now makes him NOT a Martha Screwup. Meh. I'm leaving it here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Foodie Friday: 10-minute-prep meal! Pork Chops and Couscous


Ok, cooking-wise it's longer than 10 minutes. In fact, it's actually about 30, heh. BUT the prep-time is really quick, I swear. Basically, I have a mental recipe book of food I can make in about 30 minutes with about a 10-minute prep time, so when I'm not feeling a frozen dinner or we want to avoid fast food, I can whip something up that's quick, easy, and satisfying.

So what's on the menu? Breaded baked pork chops and couscous. Easy, fast, and filling! This week, what with my back being strained again, and being sick of pizza and frozen meals, I wanted something "real food" for dinner, but since The Hubs claims inadequacy in the kitchen, that meant I had to make something that took very little time on my feet so my back wasn't screaming in pain the whole time. Then it dawned on me: One of my "quickie" meals, pork chops and couscous, takes about 10 minutes total of prep time! PERFECT. All I had to do was thaw the meat, then whip up a quick and tasty meal! (BTW, I thaw my meat in the sink with cold water. Takes longer, but I hate risking pre-cooking the meat using the defrost function in the microwave.) And as I suspected, my back barely made a whimper the whole time. Mission accomplished!

Now, keep in mind this is just enough to serve 2 people, as it's just The Hubs and I being fed. Double as needed.

The Chops
- 2 boneless pork chops, about 3/4" thick
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp thyme

The Cous
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup couscous
- 1 cube chicken bouillion (or 1 tsp if using powdered kind)
- 1 tbsp butter (or more, if you feel it's needed)
- 1 tsp garlic salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray.
2. Rinse pork chops. Mix breadcrumbs with salt, garlic powder, and thyme (optional: If I'm lazy, I'll mix in 1 tsp of powdered Ranch dressing mix - a tasty option!), and then throw the porkchops on the baking tray. Spray top of pork chops with cooking spray (it'll help the breading crisp up!) Cook for 20 minutes, flipping them over at 10 minutes.
3. After flipping the pork chops over at the 10-minute mark, set a small saucepan filled with the 1 cup water to boil (put the lid on it, it'll boil faster!) over medium-high heat. Once the water's boiling, mix in the chicken bouillion and let it dissipate into the water. Once the bouillion's blended in, take the saucepan off the heat (turn off the burner!) and stir in the couscous. Re-cover the saucepan with the lid, and LEAVE IT ALONE for 5 minutes.
4. Once the couscous has sat for 5 minutes, you may start to add seasoning. Stir in the butter and garlic salt. Sprinkle the garlic salt in gradually, tasting as you go; you might need want more or less, depending on your taste. =) Other flavoring ideas: McCormick's "Grill Mates" Roasted Garlic and Onion (I like to sprinkle a little in while the couscous is hot).

That's it! Simple, tasty, filling. I usually throw in some lettuce from a bag o' salad or nuke some frozen veggies to get some veggies in. Bon appetit!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Martha Screwups: My Black Thumb

So since I proclaimed this to be the blog of a Hot-Mess Housewife, I gotta be honest when I done f***'d up. I've decided to call these little anecdotes/warnings of how not to live "Martha Screwup"s. Get it? Like Martha Stewart? 'Cuz I am NOTHING like her. 'Cept for the jail time. (KIDDING, MOM! JUST KIDDING!)

I am having no freakin' luck when it comes to planting flowers.

Ok, so at the end of May, I caught a little sniffly cold, and my sweet The Hubs brought home a small pot of Parade roses for me as a get better gift. I aww'd, then the following weekend asked my stepdad (who is a MASTER gardener, seriously, he is BOMB) how to plant them in a bigger pot to keep them growing! He is thrilled I'm interested in gardening, so he even gives me some soil in a spare pot, and explains how to do it. I just need to go buy a small bag of soil, as he didn't have enough of the right kind to start me off. Awesome!

I come home, and the next day (Sunday) wake up with a cold from HELL. I don't think it was the flu, but it was an evil little bug. Seriously, I was still shaking it off the following Friday... and didn't get a chance to get the potting soil needed, and the roses died. Boo.

Undeterred, two Sundays ago I buy another little bush. Still need to buy the soil, though! I am a bit of a procrastinator, but I figure I'll get around to it!

Yeah, then our truck has to be put down (can't pass smog - it IS 15 years old!) so we have to share our car, and then this week was the 3rd tri-annual Back Goes Out 'Cuz of Evil Office Chair event... where The Hubs forbade me from lifting anything or even getting off my feet (and I'm not even pregnant yet! If this is how he treats me for a back injury, can't wait until I'm carrying his seed! Now THAT'S some gardening I can get into...)

Anyway, moral of the story is that my Hot Mess-ness has killed two rose bushes now. *sigh* I suck. That's $10 down the drain.

3rd time's the charm?

By the way, Mom, if you read this, please please please don't tell Raymond. I'm so embarrassed. xP


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