A Bonus Kitchen Tip!!

I wanted to share this with you. So, today you get a bonus Kitchen Tip! 

Even though I love a good hot dog on the BBQ (so yummy), in actuality hot dogs really gross me out. When you think of what is in them, it really depresses me. However, today I came across this post on another blog that I frequent and it answered a lot of questions that I had about hot dogs. I hope you enjoy it! I figured it is appropriate since many of us will either be hosting or going to BBQs this weekend.

Happy 3 day weekend!!

Mrs. Z’s Kitchen Tip Friday: Rice and Beans

Mrs. Z’s Kitchen Tip Friday is here again!

This recipe that I want to share with you today I found a week after my husband and I came home from our honeymoon. As a newlywed, I wanted to make something that I know my husband would love! It has since become an almost weekly meal in our home. My son even loves it! I have added to the recipe over the years and I am sure you can find other things to add to it as well. Without further ado, here is my favorite recipe to make.

Rice and Beans (Don’t laugh at it. It really has such wonderful flavors and is so tasty!)

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2- 15 oz. Can red kidney beans
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1 cup white rice
**it’s not in the original recipe but I add a pound of steak strips or ground beef  to make it a heartier meal.

20140522_171949 20140522_172009 20140522_172043

Directions:
1. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. Saute garlic, onion, celery, and bell pepper until tender. Stir in kidney beans, onion powder, salt, pepper, and hot sauce. Reduce heat to low and let mixture simmer slowly while you cook the rice. Stir every so often.

2. Cook rice according to directions.

3. Fold rice and beans gently together and transfer to a serving dish.

See! It is so simple to make. I have thrown in a bag of frozen stir fry vegetable mix to add more vegetables. The ingredients also call for white rice, but I usually use brown rice. It is all a matter of preference.  When it comes to the meat, if you decide to add it, I usually cook it before everything and put it into a plate to keep warm while I follow the recipe. I then add it in at the end. And, I totally forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Oops! I promise you it looks amazing!

I am not sure where I got this recipe from since my original is handwritten. I would love to give the person or site credit. However, all I have is the handwritten paper.

Enjoy this tasty kitchen tip! And have an amazing three day weekend!!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

I challenged my inner Bob Ross last night

“I have not one artistic bone in me.” That is usually my stock answer when people say that I must have done so many art projects with my students. And anyone who has taught with me knows: I am not a fan of art projects in my classroom. Haha! Don’t get me wrong. If someone wants to come into my classroom and create an art project with my students, I would never say no. I would welcome it. However, having to deal with the craziness and mess that comes with just me after do art with my students sometimes messes with my senses.  Call me mean. However, talk to any of my students. They loved my class (at least I think they do 😉 ).

Anyway, I highly recommend attending a paint night with your friends, mom, sisters, etc. My sister gave my mom and I tickets to a paint night and we went yesterday (my sister was there as well). It was so much fun! The teacher literally talks you through step by step. I mean, she tells you where to put each paint stroke. What do you think of my final product:

20140522_131934

This is coming from someone with no artistic ability at all. It was great seeing other people’s paintings as well. There were about 50 people in the room and everyone had a different interpretation. This is definitely a must for everyone!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Eggs straight from the chicken

There is nothing better than when farmer’s markets are finally open! The fruits and vegetable choices are amazing and they taste so fresh. My post from yesterday showed pictures of where we visited this weekend. Remember the picture of the chickens? Here it is in case you didn’t see it:

20140518_105128

We bought a dozen eggs that were laid by those chickens! Eggs straight from the chicken to our table.  They cost $5.00. Which isn’t too bad. The organic, cage-free eggs I buy at the store are $4.19. FOr only $0.80 more, I know where these come from. There was a slight difference in taste ( for the better) and the eggs were much fluffier when scrambled. I also noticed that the eggs didn’t stick to my pan either. Makes me wonder what is in the eggs we buy at the store.

20140520_135300 20140520_135320

(I’m only showing you 6 eggs because my son and husband have already devoured the other half!)

Definitely go and try your local farmer’s market! Not only does it show support for the local farmers, but you know you are getting wholesome food.

What are some of your favorite farmer’s market finds? Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A much simpler life

It’s always nice to get away. Even if it’s just for 36 hours. I am definitely a city girl at heart.  Bugs don’t do it for me. And the quiet, although peaceful for awhile, gets mundane. But everyone needs some time away to recharge their batteries.  And the serenity of the quietness is just what the dr calls for.
Here are some pictures of life in a much simpler place.

20140518_103110   So relaxing

20140518_103130  Looking the opposite direction of the previous picture. I could definitely stand this for more than 36 hours ;).

20140518_103122  Nature at it’s finest

20140518_104337   Chillin’ at the beach

20140518_105128  We went from a beach backdrop to a farm. I love the extremes!

20140518_105204  Lovely

20140518_105453  You know how they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this chair has probably heard a million.

I hope you enjoyed these few moments of calm and you can use the pictures as a source of comfort. I know I continually love to visit these places :).

Happy Monday!

Mrs. Z’s Kitchen Tip Friday!

It’s Mrs. Z’s Kitchen Tip Fridays!

One of my favorite dressings is Caesar dressing. However, it can be slightly unhealthy. My mom bought a cookbook years ago of just salad dressings. It had the most delicious, and probably healthier, Caesar salad dressing I have ever tasted!

Here are the ingredients:

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon orange juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

a pinch of salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

You then combine all of the ingredients, except the olive oil, in a bowl. Then gradually add the olive oil while mixing with a whisk. Then add it to your favorite salad or wrap! It is absolutely delicious!

This Caesar dressing is just as creamy as the original type. However, it has a kick from the mustard. Try it!  I am sure you will love it :).

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Say no to bumper stickers!

Some may think I am crazy for saying this but I do not like using bumper stickers on my car. First of all, it leaves a residue on the car if you ever want to take it off. My second reason is where people think I am a little insane. I feel it gives out personal information. For example, the sticker figures that show how many people and/or pets are in your family. I don’t need someone knowing how many children I have. Even bumper stickers that show your child’s school or if they made honor roll. Again, to me, that is too much information for people I do not know.

family-stick-figure-sticker  Not only does this show who is in your family, but it shows their hobbies. Way too much information!

Then, I saw this on the news the other day. Police are urging people to not put bumper stickers on their cars!!! Because it gives away too much information to people who might want to target you for a crime!!! It makes me feel a little better knowing I’m not the only person who feels this way. You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, she has a blog. She already gives out too much information.” I only reveal my opinions and super fun activities. I do not give any of my personal information.  I am actually a very private person.

So, just remember, it is a warning. However, a good warning to keep in mind.

You can contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

Social media…what has it become?!

ifyoudreamit

Facebook. Twitter. Whatever else is out there. Social media has gripped human society so tightly. For some reason we have all become voyeuristic  of each other’s lives. Gone are the days of the phone call or a handwritten letter. When my phone rings I barely recognize the sound since I hardly hear it. That is a really sad commentary.

For most of us in our 30s and older, we had a childhood free of social media. We lived in a world where you had to use pay phones to call someone or to respond to a beep. We lived in a hashtag free world (unless you were copying down your homework and needed to know which problems to do). Our childhood and adolescence were free of being tied down to a mobile device to get our latest news. Was there bullying? Yes! I can definitely be honest and say that I was bullied quite a few times in my younger years. However, the idea of bullying has been taken to the next level.

This article was so eye opening and scary at the same time. Bullying is on the rise. Suicides in young teens is on the rise. There is a section of the article that talks about a young man who was being treated for depression. He later went to a site that explained how to commit suicide and then he did. How horrific! This poor soul just needed help. But social media and the internet had a negative impact on his cry for help.

I fear for my son when he gets older. I do not want his life to be ruled by a social media account. I don’t want him to think that the number of friends you have on Facebook tells him how important he is. I don’t want him to take someone’s status and think that what someone else has to say is the truth. I want him to live in a world where people are unique and are free to express that uniqueness.  I would be lying if I said I never used any social media. At one point I was constantly on one form of social media that it consumed my life. I have definitely stepped back and have tried to become more digital free. It is definitely an addiction that, if not taken control of, will spiral out of control and make society a bunch of useless robots who just stare at a screen.

Those who use social media to attack others and to spread hatred should be held 100% responsible for their actions. They need to know that what they are doing is wrong and that it is a coward’s way. The old adage ” If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all” definitely is important in this day and age. Children need to be taught young that bullying and hatred are wrong. Unfortunately, children are a product of their parents. It all starts as us, the parents, to be good examples. To show them how to be decent people.

I know it is very hard not to be connected in our daily lives. With work and day to day activities, we need to have some source of communication with the outside. However, I think we all need to start putting aside a few hours a day where we have real conversations. Perhaps starting at the dinner table. Discuss the day’s events. Bring up something new you might have learned. Compliment someone around you. I think it will have a huge effect in the long run.  Getting to know your children ( and your children getting to know you) is the first step in this whole process. Be open with each other. Talk and listen. It is, perhaps, our only saving grace.

Tell us how you try to become digital free. Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A penny saved is a penny (in this case, 1,000s of pennies) earned

20140513_133623

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” I learned this phrase as a young child and it has stayed with me. Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t like a good bargain?! If you happen to be among the money elite in this world and you are reading this, well, I applaud you. However, I think I am pretty sure most of us would like to save a dollar or two now and gain.

One of my favorite places to shop is the dollar store. The most important thing you can buy from the dollar store are birthday/holiday cards and gift wrapping supplies. I went to my local drugstore last week to buy Mother’s Day cards and I almost fell over when I saw the prices. One card was $8.99. $8.99!!!!!!! For a piece of paper!!!! And I needed to buy 8 cards. You can do the math. It would have cost me a fortune. Don’t even get me started on the prices of the gift bags and tissue paper. Here is a picture of the card’s price so you know I am not making it up.

20140513_131842

The drugstore was an easier choice at first since it is 5 blocks from my house. I put my son in his plastic car and we took a leisurely stroll to buy cards. Well, we left with nothing. The only thing we gained was a nice walk (and I taught my son a lesson: never buy cards at a drugstore!!!).  We came back home and headed over to the dollar store. As we walked down the aisle with the Mother’s Day cards,  it was as if a chorus of angels was singing Alleluia. These cards were 2 for $1. Ahh….definitely more along my lines of a bargain. Buying 8 cards didn’t seem so bad this time around. We also headed over to the gift bags. They were 2 for $1 as well. And they weren’t the plain colored ones. They had designs, as well as the tissue paper (which was $1 for an 8 pack). My son had a birthday this past weekend, so we also purchased a birthday gift bag and tissue paper. I left the store spending less than $30. That is over a 50% savings from the cards I would have purchased at the drugstore. Here is part of my purchase (not too shabby, huh?):

20140513_131912 20140509_213027 20140509_213021 20140509_144103

Lesson to be learned: Buy all of your cards and gift wrapping supplies at the dollar store. Some other key items to buy are tape (my dollar store sells the 3m brand 2 for $1), tissues, paper plates, napkins, seasonal/holiday decorations, and dish towels (believe it or not, some of the best dish towels I have are from the dollar store!).

Some may call me cheap. I don’t mind. It gives me peace of mind knowing I got a good bargain though! Give it a try. I think you’ll like it :).

What are some of your money saving tips? Comment below!

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.

A different Mother’s Day perspective

I read this amazing post yesterday. It showed the perspective of Mother’s Day through the eyes of those who have suffered loss. Perhaps you may know one of these. A woman who is struggling to conceive a child. A woman ( or man) who has lost a mother either through illness or old age. It talked of the raw emotions and how this holiday is just another reminder of what they can’t grasp.

If you happen to be one of them, always remember: you are not alone! As mothers, aunts, grandmas, nieces, cousins, friends we all stand together. Know that you always have a shoulder to cry on or a friendly smile to laugh with. We are here to listen. We may not always know what to say. However, we will be there for you.

mothersdayperspective

I wanted to pass this article on so that we all become more aware of comments we may make. Or how we are quick to judge. One of my favorite things to teach my students was to try “walking in the other person’s shoes” before you say something. You never know what someone is going through. Maybe giving a smile instead of a rude comment will make a difference in someone’s life. You may not realize it is a rude comment. So, think before you speak.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! See you all tomorrow :).

You can also contact me at themrszfiles@gmail.com.