Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vinegar, vinegar and more vinegar

I'm a vinegar fanatic!  I always have 3 different vinegars on hand at all times, white, cider and balsamic. 

I am pretty sure there has to be 101 uses for White vinegar, mostly for use on the cleaning front.  I am going to have to post a separate blog on that one. 

My grandmother used to rave about how great Cider Vinegar was.  She used to push all kinds on information on me, trying to sell me on it.  (She really didn't need to, I love vinegar! But you know how the elderly tend not to listen too well when they have something to  I don't have any of the pamphlets these I googled it.  I found this from

Apple Cider Vinegar Cures

Updated: 07/30/2011
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Apple Cider Vinegar, that wonderful old-timers home remedy, cures more ailments than any other folk remedy -- we're convinced! From the extensive feedback we've received over the past 8 years, the reported cures from drinking Apple Cider Vinegar are numerous. They include cures for allergies (including pet, food and environmental), sinus infections, acne, high cholesterol, flu, chronic fatigue, candida, acid reflux, sore throats, contact dermatitis, arthritis, and gout. Apple Cider Vinegar also breaks down fat and is widely used to lose weight. It has also been reported that a daily dose of apple cider vinegar in water has high blood pressure under control in two weeks!
Apple Cider Vinegar is also wonderful for pets, including dogs, cats, and horses. It helps them with arthritic conditions, controls fleas & barn flies, and gives a beautiful shine to their coats!
If you can get over the taste of apple cider vinegar, you will find it one of the most important natural remedies in healing the body. As a wonderful side effect of drinking apple cider vinegar every day, we've discovered that it brings a healthy, rosy glow to one's complexion! This is great news if you suffer from a pale countenance.

I use Cider Vinegar in salad dressing and in my Refreshing Mac Salad.  Another great use for it is to soak tomatoes and cucumber wedges overnight in casserole dishes and eat them up, yum, the next day.  Sorry for those who can't stomach the stuff, but I am truly a vinegar fanatic! 

Then on to Balsamic Vinegar.  It is truly amazing.  I save it for my most special recipe that my mother used to make:  Fresh Mozzarella Bites

Fresh Mozzarella Bites, in loving memory of my mother

This picture does not do this justice!!!! 

Fresh Mozzerella balls, sliced
Fresh Roma tomatoes, sliced
Demi loaf of Asiago Cheese Bread from Panera Bread, sliced thin (other breads with do but this is great!)
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Basil (fresh is preferred but in a pinch I use the dried...shhh!)

Note that I don't have amounts listed, this is one of those recipes that you must cater to your own taste buds!

To prepare
Lay out the bread slices, layer with tomatoes and top with fresh mozzerella slices.
This is where your personal preference comes into play...
Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar to your liking.  I like the bread to be a bit soggy.  Keep in mind that the bread will soak this up.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with a bit of fresh basil (or dried basil when fresh is not an option).  Viola!  Delish!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Refreshing Mac Salad

This recipe is all my own.  I took my mom's recipe and have changed it to please my own taste buds. 

1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked and strained
1 container grape tomatoes
8 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 shredded chicken breast (see Super Easy Shredded Chicken)
1 cup mayo
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 T garlic powder
1 T onion powder
5 T sugar

Dump all ingredients into bowl and mix.  After macaroni soaks up the juice, I add more milk to sauce it back up.  (Usually, the next morning.)  I don't add salt and pepper as we add it to our own portions to your own liking. 

Good Stuff!

Strawberry WOW-zers!

My neighbor introduced me to a wonderful concoction.  I told her that I was stealing it and she told me to run with it!  That, I am!  Thanks Michelle!

Strawberries (as little or as many as you want)
Vanilla vodka (Neighbor uses Whipped Cream Vodka, I switched it up bc I love vanilla!)
1 can of whipped cream

To prepare:
Cut tops off of strawberries and fill container, canning jars work wonderfully (and easy to pass around, when ready to enjoy).  Fill container with Vanilla Vodka.  Let the strawberries soak at least one night overnight.

To serve:
Use fork to stab a berry, top with a bit of whipped cream and enjoy!  Share with friends!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mere Amour Original Jewelry

I love making jewelry.  I never seem to find enough time though.  My whole reasoning for starting this blog was to get organized and in turn have more time to do the things that I want to do.  (Organization Project #1 = Garage Sale!  I'm currently still collecting items but I'm afraid I may not have enough, I will cross that bridge on my deadline (Sunday).)  Anyhow, back to the jewelry...(ADD moment)...  I love it.  My goal is to set up shop on my  I have it and pay for the name, I just haven't quite had time to do the setting up thing.  I even thought of paying someone but those ideas went out the window about 2 weeks ago when Hub got laid off (again).  (This economy blows!)  So, it's just going to take some extra time to accomplish my goal.  I figured that I could post pictures of my creations here so that my avid readers (oh, so many...haha) can have look sees. 

On to my next task of trying to figure out how to set up pages on the this blog thing.  I'll go ask Kathy (Lovelace Files) then she will go tell me to google it (she's irritating like that) but she'll help me so I leave her alone (I irritate back).  LOL!

Super Easy Shredded Chicken - Crock Pot

I've seen many a recipe for shredding chicken that is way too time consuming!  I promise you that you cannot go wrong with this recipe.  You don't have to brown chicken first, etc.  The chicken is very flavorful and literally falls on the fork.  I make this up and freeze what I don't use for later.  I promise to share those recipes too. 

1 - 3lb bag of frozen chicken breasts (still frozen)
1 can chicken broth
2 spoonfuls of chicken base

To prepare:
Dump ingredients into crockpot.  I always thought that you needed to thaw chicken before you cooked it.  Not so!  (I did my research.)  Cook until chicken falls off the fork.  (Put fork in chicken and it shreds very easily.)  Yesterday, I cooked it on high for 5 hours and it was perfect.  I have also cooked it on low for 10 hours and the results were the same.

When chicken is done, I use a slotted spoon to remove it from the crockpot and put into a separate bowl to cool more quickly.  (Save the broth.) 

I then shred it with my hands because I find that it is faster than using forks.  I fill small ziploc containers with the chicken and pour broth in to cover and completely fill the container.  (Works better when freezing if container is full.)

I put them in the freezer and take out when I need some.  A few minutes on defrost in the microwave does the trick.  I love time savers! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shazam App

Don't know the name of that song?  Shazam does!  It's a fun little tool that you hold up to the music and it will identify the song name.  You can then buy it, watch video, get the lyrics or share it.  Unlimited tagging until Jan 1, 2012.  Tag on!  Fun Stuff!  Try it!

Nook App

The wonderful Hub got me a Nook for Christmas (after I told him that's what I wanted), nonetheless, I love it.  I had some issues with a book that I downloaded.  I had to delete it and reinstall it, it was a pain.  The pages were taking forever to turn, etc.  Anyhow, I now have my Nook App that I can read my books from my Nook on.  It's not as nice as my Nook, but it's always with me.  It's a must for Nook owners.

Scanner Radio App

I downloaded Scanner Radio app probably a month ago and used it for the first time last night.  The hub and I were sitting in the backyard and heard the sirens of the fire engine and such go roaring by.  I got out the trusty smartphone (very smart gadget!) and opened up my Scanner Radio app and started listening.  (You click on the near me button and it lets you choose what stream you want to listen to.  I picked the one that covers our area of town.)  We then heard that someone was run over just down the road.  So sad.  Hope everything turns out okay for the person.  We also heard that there was a gas leak at a manufacturing facility a couple towns over.  Scary stuff.  It satisfied our curiousity and we turned it off.

Wordfeud App and the secret app

First, I would like to mention that I have yet to pay for an App.  I haven't found reason to.  I don't think I ever would unless that was something out there that I just thought that I could not live without. 

So, there's this Scrabble like app out there called Wordfeud.  Quite fun!  I play against the hub and the kid (age 19).  I found one before that is called Words with Friends but the kid, age 19 uses the Wordfeud.  No difference to me. 

So, I've been killing the kid (age 19) and the hub.  It's great!  I found this app called Scrabble Solver that I have been using.  You plug in your letters and it pops out words for you.  That's my secret.  It that cheating?  Don't care, it's fun!  LOL!

Netflix App

I know I am always a bit behind the times.  However, when the hub and I both got our new smartphones a month or so ago.  I tried to get the Netflix app.  We currently subscribe to Netflix and we love it.  We watch the TV seasons and the kid (age 5) can always seem to find something when the urge strikes him.  (If the kid, age 5, is happy, Mama is happy.)  So, I was not too happy to find out that there wasn't a Netflix app for the android market at that time.  Well, we went out of town last weekend with some friends that, too, resisted the new smartphone movement and they have the Netflix app for android.  Well, low and behold it exists.  Within the last month it magically appeared.  Yeah!

Tankless Hot Water Heater - priceless

I have to give a big plug for my Aquastar Gas Tankless Hot Water Heater because I just received my natural gas bill and it was only $8.01!  Love it!  This is with a gas dryer and gas stove.  I use the dryer everyday and the stove a few times a week in the summer.  I figured out that it would take approximately 3 years to recoup the initial cost as they are much more costly than traditional hot water tanks.  Well, our tankless has been running great for 6 years.  I'm not sure of the life expectancy, I will let you know when it dies... 

We actually did not purchase this unit.  My mother purchsed this unit for her home 6 years ago.  She passed away 3 years ago (miss her everyday) and we decided to swap out water heaters.  Why not, right?  I remember that she had to purchase the bigger unit because the smaller one wasn't cutting it.  It doesn't always go by your square footage, you have to take in account how your water lines run throughout your house.  I notice that the one side of my house, where the unit is, gets hot water faster than the kitchen that is at the other side of the house.  I can live with it though because I haven't noticed an increase in my water bill.  Besides that, here really is no downside.  I noticed that you don't have to turn the hot knobs up all the way when running bath water as our water pressure is super strong and when I have it up all the way, it's not very hot.  I turn the hot water down and it is as hot as can be.  It's only for the bath water though.  The shower and all the sinks are fine.  I also never run out of hot water.  We can all take showers (5 of us) back to back, do laundry and run dishwasher and always have hot water. 

Love it!  (And it appears that I am going something good for the environment as well...) Okay, that was a joke, I am an energy conscience person.  I do not go overboard though.  My house is very energy efficient and I will do what I can but it has to be easy.  I'm not going to go unplugging everything all the time and drive out of my way to drop off my recyclables, etc.  I will post about how my family and I do our part to 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle'.  You would be proud.  Okay, probably not but, I am.  LOL!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Keep 'em Busy Bag

Steel (kid, age 5) made me this wonderful bag
with handprints on it for Mother's Day last year.

For some reason, everytime I found a use for this bag,
Steel would come and commendeer it. 
Then I had an idea...  I loaded it with... (F-U-N Keep 'em Busy Stuff)

I put it here... (back of my car/truck)

Viola!  Mom's always got the goods when on the go! 
(It keeps Mom sane so she doesn't lose her marbles.)

Great weekend

Had a great weekend getaway with the hub.  The kid went camping with the old sitter and the hub and I went to Detriot to gamble!  We didn't win it big but we had a nice relaxing time.  It's really sad that the hotel's king size is soooo much more comfortable than our crappy queen.  We so need a new mattress, I have no idea where to begin.  We came home to the house intact!  19 year old done good.  The house looked pretty much like we left it, if a wild party was had, she did a good job cleaning up.  As far as that goes, I'm pretty sure there was no crazy, wild parties.  (Lol, yes, her cleaning skills leave something to be desired...just in case you missed that...) (We have good neighbors for watching for that sort of thing, too.)

Work has gone well for a Monday!  Yeah, 4 more days! 

I gathered several boxes and loaded them up in the car for garage sale items.  I have a busy week ahead of me gathering items.  Still on track for Sunday deadline!  Starting on the upstairs this evening.  Yeah me! Can't wait!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Key Ring App - The beginning of my smart phone movement

So, my brother in law was a bit of a tech junkie and was probably one of the first people to get the original iphone the second it hit the shelves way back yesteryear.  (Correction:  He was probably the first in line).  (This of course when I was resisting the movement and still getting my free phones.)  He always had some new gadget or a new app on his phone to show off.  The one that actually, finally got me listening was the Key Ring App.  Wow, how many frequent shopper cards do you have or that you turned down because what are you going to do with yet another shoppers card, only to not have it when you need it...  Well, this handy little app saves them all right on your phone.  You pull up the app, pick your store and viola! the barcode appears for your cashier to scan.  WOW!  My big day was yesterday... I went to Petco (where the Pets go...) during lunch to pick up some dog food.  The cashier asked me for my Pals card (that's what Petco calls it) and right before I could tell her that she would have to look it up, (light bulb on in head) I remembered my oh so clever app.  I dug the phone out and got it ready to scan in seconds.  It scanned with ease and this rush of tech saviness came over me.  Total gratification.  Check it out...

My New Smart Phone

After holding out for quite some time, my husband and I finally broke down a purchased our first smart phones last month.  For years, when renewal time came, I would simply get the nicest free phone that verizon had available.  Free no longer exists and the cheap phones are actually cheap.  This is where those phone companies stick it to you! Anyhow- We both got the Droid Charge.  Love it!  Definitely not free!  The reviews were good.  I had good reasons to go android versus iphone but I'm not sure what they are anymore.  The things I read through research didn't prove to be all that true.  I did read that the number of android apps were going to surpass iphone sometime this year.  Only trouble is that anyone can write an app for android so you have to be careful.  Also, some apps (like netflix) do come out for the iphone before android though so you have to wait a bit.  My only complaint is the battery life but if I could stay off the thing, I'm sure it would be fine.  I am constantly playing with it.  Like I said, love it

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My first project to blog about

My main reason for creating my own blog (besides pretending someone is to motivate myself into re-organizing my 'life'.  With my re-organization, I hope to get to those projects that I never seem to have time or energy for.  Re-organization = Lists.  I am definitely a list person.  I have lists for everything.  The very first item on my list for reorganizing my 'life' is a garage sale.  What better way to get organized than to get rid of the clutter.  I had a garage sale last year and it wasn't too much of a success, hopefully I can take my lessons learned and have better luck this time!  First task in Project Garage Sale is the gathering of items.  I plan to tackle this task by gathering items room by room, from the top of the house to the bottom.  Goal = Gather all items by end of the day on Sunday, July 31st.  I have given myself plenty of time and wiggle room, as we have other plans for the up coming weekend.  I am hoping to have the garage sale the weekend of August 5th.  I will check the weather early that week before I call the paper to place the ad. 

Sherwin Williams Color Snap App

This is some serious fun... I just downloaded this today.  I work for Sherwin Williams and I didn't even know this existed until last weekend when a friend (non-SW employee) mentioned it to me.  (I know, I know, I must have missed the memo...)  It is available for iphone, blackberry and android. 

Take a pic, pick a color in your pic and viola!, it tells you the Sherwin Williams color code.  It even has a find store feature!  Ask How, Ask Now...Ask Sherwin Williams...  Amazing what will they think of next?!

Day 1

I finally got my about me section complete.  I had crazy trouble yesterday, I went to post it and 'poof' it was gone!  Today is a new day.  Not too sure if I like the way it looks right now, I'm also having trouble with this editing thing but I will figure it out eventually.  Well, time to get to work, I will fiddle with it more later...