Archive for October, 2013

Happy Halloween!!!!!

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Happy Halloween!!!  I hope everyone has a fantastic day!!!

 

As you can see, the men in my  house go a little crazy.  I take no responsibility here WHAT-SO-EVER!

But it makes my boys so happy!

And we bought the the inflatables on sale

Over the course of a few years

It’s the electric bill that will sting a bit…

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Paper Plate Gourmet : 5 Ingredient Lemon Chicken

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I would like to introduce you to my Go-To Chicken.  It’s simple, quick and yummy.  My kind of chicken.

 

I use it on salads, as the base for my chicken salad, or, most often, like this – served alone with a side of avocado & cilantro.  AKA – a little slice of heaven.

 

This maybe a no-brainer for some people, but this was exciting for me, a woman who has a fear of francese ….

 

Ingredients

Chicken Breasts- I usually make 3 thin sliced ones

2 Lemons – more or less depending on the above

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Salt, to taste

Garlic Powder, to taste (I dump a liberal amount…)

 

Directions

  1. Add the chicken to a zip lock bag
  2. Squeeze the lemons into the bag
  3. Add the Olive Oil, Salt & Garlic Powder to the bag
  4. Close the Bag (this is so important it is getting its own step.)
  5. Shake that bag like you are “Living laVida Loca”  (I love that song… sorry)
  6.  I usually marinate it overnight, but I have also made it right away.  It’s still tasty if a little less lemony… it’s all good.
  7. Heat a skillet on the stove over medium heat
  8. Dump the contents of the bag onto the skillet once it is warm.
  9. Now, it is going to look a little odd for a bit and you will wonder if I led you astray.  The marinade will start to look white and you will worry about the chicken cooking.  It will be alright!
  10. I usually flip it once or twice to make sure I get the pink out of the chicken.  Eventually (8-10 minutes later) all the juice will cook off and your chicken will start to become golden brown.  It’s a good time to flip the chicken again.
  11. Cut into that bad boy to make sure it is done.

 

I usually make this with an avocado dip on the side – mix together avocado, cilantro, salt, garlic powder & the juice of one lime.

 

Wow!! 2 recipes for the price of 1!!!

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Dropbox Unlocked the Key to my Heart….

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Have you guys heard of Dropbox?  Do you use it?  PS that is their image, I just added my undying love to it…

 

 

For those of you who don’t know (aka Dizee two months ago), it is a central location to store files (up to 2GB ) allowing you to use them anywhere.  There are certain restrictions, so you should check their user guidelines, but can I say how life altering this has been?

 

Keep in mind, I am learning how to become more organized.  It is a slow and generally painful progress.   However, this has helped tremendously.   At a minimum, at least this aspect of my life is organized!  Phew!

 

How do I use it?

 

Good question – the possibilities are endless.

 

a)      I store all my printables, like this one,  here so I can access them when I need them

b)      I keep copies of e-books I have purchased/downloaded so I can read it on the go (some are not ‘kindle’ friendly)

c)       I store pictures I want to send / work on.

d)      I have a little recipe folder where I post ideas/etc so I don’t lose the links (aka my baked potato!)

e)      I keep my running list of blogging ideas & blogging files handy (I know! Very important!!!!)

f)       I keep my “Cruelty Free” product list available

 

 

Since the blog is just a hobby and I make no money on it/receive perks, I do not believe I violate any terms and conditions.  I does help my mental health though – I am not sure you can put a price on that!!!!

 

I am sure there are people who don’t want their ‘stuff’ out there, but  I don’t load compromising information  (credit card numbers, SSN#, etc).  It is so much easier than emailing myself every time I update something!

 

Does anyone use Dropbox?  I would love to know your thoughts.  I am very, very happy with it!

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Library Reading : It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow

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Can I say I was pleasantly surprised?

 

 

I am not a fan of Gwyneth (still not, honestly) but the cookbook was much better than I expected.  Yes, there were many, many pictures of a makeup-less Gwyneth, trying to act like a normal person.  She gets a decent amount of bad press for being out of touch with the average human.  Her recent list of Spring Must Haves topped out at over $450,000.  Oddly, that is only 449,950 more than I had budgeted.

 

Either way, this was a hard book to get from the library – it has been out routinely for months.  So, imagine my surprise when the book was available!  WOO HOO!  I could finally see what all the hoopla was all about.

 

I honestly skimmed through the introductions – I was really interested in the recipes.  Her “elimination diet” includes no coffee, alcohol, sugar,  shellfish, potatoes, gluten , soy or processed foods  (sounds like Craig Diet).  There is also minimal diary, so it is fairly strict.  I found it intriguing.   I mean, I have trouble going half a day without chocolate.

 

In the end, I found way more appetizing recipes to try  (I think a total of eight, which is a lot for a picky girl like me).  Actually, my inspiration for the Avocado Toast was based on something her she had in her book (although it included gluten free bread, sliced avocado and vegenaise.)

 

That being said, my biggest gripe (besides the excessive photos of Gwyneth without food or her  name dropping of some of  the biggest names in the business) was some of the ingredients she was calling for – vegenaise, to me, was the most normal.  What is xylitol?   Apparently, it is a sweetener, but she used it pretty often…I’ll pass, thank you. .  Pimenton? Probably not… Gochujang?  God Bless You (wasn’t that a sneeze? – no it’s actually Korean red pepper flakes.)  What can I say, I am not THAT much of a foodie.

 

Thanks to Eater.com, you can click here for some of the ‘best’ quotes of the book (note that best is in quotation marks… you know what that means, right?)

 

In the end, this is really why I love taking books out of the library.  I made some photocopies of recipes to try and back the book went!

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Have You Been Boo-ed?

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We were Boo-ed & the boys couldn’t be happier!

 

Have you heard of this?

 

It is similar “Ding, Dong, Ditch” but sans the flaming bag of dog poop.

 

The phantom ghost leaves a little bag of treats on your front door or porch.  Your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to “Boo” two other people and further spread the love!

 

Click here for directions and a cute printable to go with your little bag of treats.

 

It seriously thrilled my boys – they keep asking who our phantom was!  Thankfully, I know, or I too would be going mental trying to figure it out!

 

And wouldn’t you know it – Max had just as much fun Booing others as he did getting Boo-ed himself!

 

Has anyone else done this?  It is a very cute tradition.

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What does Dad’s birthday and Leukemia have in common?

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Happy Birthday Dad! (Even though you probably won’t read this ! HA!)

 

 

 

I thought today was a good time as any to talk about Cancer.  I know, I know – Come on Di! Stop being a Dizee Downer! Why are you going to talk about cancer on your dad’s birthday?

 

Well, because he almost wasn’t here to celebrate another year.  And, sharing his story could just possibly ensure someone else can live to celebrate theirs!

 

Now, I fully admit I have become neurotic about cancer.  Dad’s diagnosis was really the catalyst for me embarking on this journey to a greener, healthier, simpler lifestyle.

 

Dad has always been a healthy, athletic sort of guy.  He would even fill in on our co-ed softball games back in the day.   So, when he ended up getting what we believed was a routine sinus infection, we didn’t think much of it.

 

But, the infection did not seem to go away.  A few weeks passed.   He started sleeping a lot.  Then, there was the reoccurring fever.  Even an antibiotic didn’t kick this cold.  Finally, it was time to admit he had to go to the doctor.

 

Luckily, he went to his primary doctor who realized dad was overdue for some basic blood work.  (I doubt one of those ‘first medicine” places would have done a complete blood work up).

 

Imagine our shock when it turned out dad’s “sinus infection” was really Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Apparently, many times a person’s symptoms are so innocuous, the leukemia goes undiagnosed for a while.  But, it spreads rapidly – it can be fatal within months if left untreated.

 

Well, let me tell you, there is nothing “cute” about this disease.

 

Now remember, I am not a doctor (even if I am playing one today on this blog), but basically what happens in Dad’s Leukemia,  was his normal blood cells were getting replaced with a leukemic (blast) cells.  Everyone at one point or another has blast cells in their system- they are really immature blood cells.  However, for the general public, these blast cells convert themselves into normal blood cells.  In a leukemia patient, these blast cells end up replacing your good, functioning cells.

 

Yup, dad won the leukemia lottery.  Only, there is no million dollar prize (just a million dollar hospital bill)

 

In the end, dad ended up getting a bone marrow transplant (similar to Robin Roberts – but none of his family members were matches.)  But, that is a story for a different day.

 

So, what is the moral of this story?  If you have a cold and it isn’t going away – go to the doctor.  Chances are, it really is JUST a cold.  But, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

 

I hope I didn’t ruin your day or make you rush off to call your physican!

 

PS – if you or someone you love has AML & you are searching for a ray of hope in this vast internet world of horrible statistics and sad stories – dad is currently doing well.  Email me if you want details – but AML does not mean it is a death sentence, even if it seems that every other page is telling you it is.

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Guest Post : Tips for Setting Up a Family Budget

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For some families, a budget can be a challenge. If your family finds it hard to stick to a budget, don’t worry – there are many ways you can stretch your family budget and continue to enjoy a quality and fun lifestyle. Some techniques work for some families, and other might not. If one doesn’t work well, don’t give up. Try something new. Below are some strategies for creating a family budget that works!

 

 

Freezing Credit Cards

Most people would cringe at the thought of freezing their credit cards, but it’s a great step in the right direction. Freezing your credit cards in a block of water is simple to do and will keep you from using them so much. It’s far too easy to forget the real costs of things when you simply swipe a card. To stop this bad habit, freeze your credit cards and keep them in the freezer unless you are facing a true emergency and really need to use them.

 

Grocery Shopping

Most people think they don’t have the time for coupon cutting, but coupons can save you a fortune on groceries. Plan a menu for the following week, and clip coupons that you need to make those meals. Stock up on sale items and basic items you use a lot. Monitor your grocery bill to figure out what your average monthly costs are for groceries. Try to spend a little less each month. Take a large binder with clipped coupons to the grocery store every time you shop.


Think Crafty
Gift-giving occasions are much more than just for major holidays. If you have children, they probably get invited to plenty of birthday parties that require a gift. You never have to blow the family budget buying gifts for other people. Learn how to make some crafty homemade gifts – anything from special baked goods to candles, bath salts, homemade soap, homemade jewelry, photo albums and much more. There are a lot of low-cost gifts that you and the kids can make right at home. Add some pretty packaging to your gift to make it a lovely personal gift for someone special.

 

 

Using Cash

Pay for things with your hard-earned cash. When you pay cash, you stop and think about what you are buying. If you don’t like to carry cash around, take your debit card and use it. Make sure you keep up with your balance so you don’t overdraw your bank account.

 

 

Cutting Back

There are lots of ways to pinch the family budget without it hurting so bad. Take the time to sit down one day and call your cell phone provider, cable provider and home phone provider. Discuss any lower cost plans they might have to offer. Maybe you can cut a few pay channels from your cable television bill or switch to a lower cell phone plan. If you have a hot tub, consider only using it during certain months of the year, or only using A/C when it’s time for bed.

 

 

If you have trouble with your family budget, keep trying new ideas until you find one that works for you and your family. The goal is to create a budget that allows you to save money for the future while still having a good time with your family. Simply put, a good budget leads to financial freedom!

 

Jeremy Piley writes all about finance for families. His recent work is a piece titled “What Are The Cheapest Online Colleges and Degrees?

Paper Plate Gourmet : The Best Microwave “Baked” Potato Ever!

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Can my life be altered by a potato?

 

Possibly.

 

 

I love baked potatoes but never have the time to actually “bake” it.  Usually, I just throw it in the good ol’ microwave wrapped in a paper towel.

 

This week, while trying to do the aforementioned “cooking” I drew a total blank on how long to microwave my potato.  8 minutes? 10 minutes? I couldn’t remember.

 

So, I did what everyone does nowadays – I googled it.     Unfortunately, it was from my phone and I can no longer find the correct link! I am sorry!  It was from  an e-how page.

 

This particular post suggested rubbing the potato with olive oil.  I thought – why the heck not!  This here, my friends, is the pivotal part of this story.  I believe this step is what separates the men from the spuds.

 

My potato was FANTASTIC!  And crispy!  And done in 10 minutes!  Whoop!

 

 

Ingredients

Potato

A Smidge of Olive Oil

Sea Salt, To Taste

Toppings of your choice (be bold!)

 

Directions

 

  1. Wash the dirty potato
  2. Poke holes in the now clean potato
  3. Lather up that potato with some olive oil
  4. Add a little salt if you feel like it
  5. Place the potato in a microwave safe bowl (like my Pyrex)
  6. Microwave for 4-5 minutes
  7. Flip it over with a fork (this puppy is hot!)
  8. Microwave for another 4 minutes
  9. Let the bad boy sit for another minute or two
  10. Eat!

 

All I added was a little butter, salt, pepper and some freshly shredded Colby Jack cheese.  I have become a shredded cheese snob – I like to grate it fresh!  I can definitely taste a difference!

 

Soon, I am going to move onto loaded potatoes!!!  CRAZY DIZEE!

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