Some days you wake up and know that things are going to go wrong. That it would better for the world if you crawled back into bed. Today felt like one of those days. You know the days were you do more harm then good. I feel like I was further ahead yesterday then today. So what do you do when you have a bad day? Me, I think of my childhood. A little nostalgia of the "good old days". One of the greatest things from my childhood is creamsicles.

Tonight I decided I would attempt again to update the old creamsicle and make it a little bit more adult. You know I have tried and tried to make a great orange cream shake. But I have never gotten it right. Tell tonight. I found it, that secret ingredient that you need for it to turn out just right and taste perfect. Hold tight and on another day I will give you pictures and the recipe. Promise.

Ah okay, here you go. Pictures will come later.

1/2 cup of Vanilla Yogurt (Its the secret)
3/4 a can of orange Soda
1 Tsp of Vanilla Extract
Vanilla Ice Cream

Add it all into a blender and blend tell you like the consistency. It will taste just like your childhood.

Saving money by saving food

As Jeremy said he isn't a fan of leftovers, so often times food gets thrown out. Awhile ago I would just make the whole recipe of something, and whatever we didn't eat that day or as left overs later would get thrown out, which would be a lot! One day something just clicked and I thought, why am I making a whole pan of something, when my family doesn't even eat half of it? What a waste of food! So I have started just making half of the recipe. Or where the recipe permits I make the whole recipe and put half in a small pan, and the other half in a disposable pan from the dollar store and cover it and put it in the freezer. It takes as much work to make a full recipe as it does a half, so why not make it all and have some in the freezer for later. If the whole recipe wouldn't work well in the freezer I do the parts I can that will freeze well, like the meat, sauces, beans and things like that, and put them in a freezer bag, and write on it what recipe it's for and what's in it. So I challenge you to stop throwing away so much food and save yourself some money while you do it.

Sushi (California Roll)

I'm sure there are a lot of you out there that are not fans of sea food. If this is you but you're up for a little adventure this recipe is for you. It doesn't really have any seafood in it. There is Nori, but that is anything from real seafood. It is also the hardest thing for anyone to get past. I love these and wish we had them more often. Good luck and you might as well give it a try, what do you have to lose?

Sushi Rice

1/3 c. vinegar
5 Tbs. sugar
1 Tbs. salt
4 c. Japanese rice
4 c. water

Heat vinegar, sugar, and salt in a pot on the stove over medium heat until everything has dissolved. Let cool.

Rinse rice several times. Then let drain 30 minutes in a strainer. Put rice and water in rice cooker and let sit (not cooking) for 15 minutes. Cook the rice. If you don't have a rice cooker use this link to help walk you through cooking it on the stove, but make sure you use the same amount of water and rice as called for on in this recipe. (I have not tried this method since I have always used a rice cooker, so I hope it works.)

Put cooked rice and vinegar solution in a big wooden bowl (I don't have one so I always use a cookie sheet and it turns out fine). Use a rice paddle or some similar device like a spatula or large spoon to carefully use a cutting motion and stir rice and vinegar. Continuously stop and fan it to help cool. Or if you are lucky to have someone help you, you can have someone fan while you cut and stir. Once rice has cooled to room temperature it is ready.

Scrambled Eggs
2 eggs
1 tsp. sugar

In a bowl beat eggs with sugar. Heat a small frying pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray over medium heat. When hot pour eggs in it. Let it cook without stirring. If air bubbles form you may break them, but make sure some of the raw eggs fill the hole. Once the egg is set, use a spatula and flip it to the other side to cook all the way through. After it is cooked and cooled, cut the eggs into strips the same size as your carrots and cucumbers.

California Roll

Nori (seaweed sheets)
Sushi rice
Cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into long strips
Steamed Carrots, cut into strips (you want it to still have some bit to it)
Scrambled eggs

Lay out a sheet of nori shiny side down, horizontally, on a bamboo mat (I'm sure you can just do it on the counter if you don't have one, but the mat does help roll it). Spread out a thin layer of sushi rice on the nori. In the middle lay the cucumber, carrots, and eggs so you have some all the way across. Take the edge closest to you, bring it up and roll it over the eggs, cucumber, and carrots and continue to roll tightly until it is all rolled up. If you aren't eating it right away wrap it in plastic wrap, or you can cut it and put it in tubberware and put it in the fridge.

Cheese on a Plate

That's right I said it. I said, "cheese on a plate". The delectable amazing gooey mess pulled out of the microwave. For those of you that don't know, I love cheese. There isn't a cheese that I have meet that I didn't like. I am always looking for ways to try new cheeses. If I had more money, a little more time, and there was a few places close to me that made it, I would buy a lot more cheese then I do.

When I am in Seattle I love to go to a little hole in the wall pub and order a chicken blue cheese burger. Next time I am there I will give you a review with pictures. Oh, I could go for one right now. My close friends have thought about starting a fondue restaurant. I would love them to follow that dream. If only so I could show up and try all the amazing cheeses they would put out for me. On many occasions I have asked for cheese as presents from my beautiful wife. My passion for cheese does run deep.

As a tribute to a good friend I am posting his recipe tonight. So here you go, Cheese on a plate.

1 chunk of cheese
1 plate
1 microwave

Put cheese on plate and put in microwave tell gooey. Cooking time may very depending on the cheese. Through much trial and error a porcelain plate works best.

Call me crazy

I hate shopping (any kind), but I love to find a good deal.

Things haven't always been easy around here when it comes to money. Without getting into too much detail, money used to be super tight around here, and I think that is making it sound glamorous. Things have improved recently (they aren't perfect, but they are good), and we count our blessing for that.

When we were struggling, I had a minimal food budget, but when I think about all those years of struggling, I don't feel like we sacrificed tons when it came to food. We didn't indulge in things that weren't needed but most of the time we ate pretty decent food, and I don't remember having to live on top ramen (although I don't have a great memory, and when you are going through hard times you try not to focus on things like that, so maybe the hubby might chime in remind me that things aren't quiet like I remember them.) I did my best to make the most of my food budget, and waiting until things were on sale to buy them. I felt like I did pretty good.

Now that I have more money to work with when it comes to my food budget, I still love finding a great deal and saving money and spending as little as possible. For our family of 5 I typically spend $50 a week on food. I plan our meals based on what I have in my food storage, in my freezer, and what's on sale at the store.
With the economy the way it is, every one can make their food expenses lower just by planning ahead and not eating out as often. After all, who doesn't want to save money? I DO!

One of the things I think will probably be shared by me on Wednesday is deals I've found or ways to save. And if anyone has any of their own ideas or deals, I'd love to hear them. I don't feel like I'm an expert, and always love to learn new things from others.

"Healthy" Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These cookies are divine. We where sitting around one night about a week a go talking about this blog and the things we wanted to do with it. Then the idea of making cookies came up. We didn't have an oatmeal raisin cookie recipes on hand so we hit the internet. Which is where we found this gem. The reviews where really mixed. With most people complaining that they were not sweet enough. It isn't your traditional cookie and it isn't all the sweat. But with a the few additions we have put in, like brown sugar. I would say it is one of the greatest oatmeal cookies we have come across and it uses up our great storage of apple butter. It also doesn't hurt that they are a little on the healthy side. Its a Win/Win in my book. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

3 c. oatmeal
1 c. raisins
1 c. water
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. apple butter
2 eggs
1/4 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. flour
1 c. wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375.
Put oatmeal on a cookie sheet and toast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile put raisins and water in a pot and bring to a low simmer and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain off the water, and let the raisins cool along with the oats after they get out of the oven. Mix together brown sugar, sugar, apple butter, eggs, oil, and vanilla for 5 minutes. Sift together flour, wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to the wet. Stir in oatmeal and raisins. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough on a greased cookie sheet. Bake cookies at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Originally posted on "The Food Network" - Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. We have modified it somewhat.

The Dry Ingredients:

Should look like this after mixing:

Onto the cookie sheet:

It an't paridise every night.

Around here Erin does a great job of stretching our budget. She is always finding little things to do in order to save us money. From coupons to just using things in ways you wouldn't think. Like zucchini in brownies. Healthy and yummy. One of her greatest ways she saves us money is she plans. She is always trying to figure out what things she can make with the sales that are going on. It's an art. Like writing a great piano concerto in dinners.

In her list of dinner is always a few nights for left overs. These nights are my least favorite. You might be wondering how I could not love those nights. We have amazing food all the time. Who wouldn't want to eat it a second night right? I must be crazy. Well I am a little crazy and all geek. You have to understand that I also eat the food each day for lunch. So on a days like the last few which had a left over nigh, if you don't include breakfast I ate the same meal for three days. No matter how good that food can be three days can get old. I like variety. It has taken me a long time to get to where I will even eat the left overs the next day. (Remember geeky and crazy...) Now don't go thinking that Erin makes me eat the same thing everyday. That is just me. I could easily have grabbed the food from two nights before the three nights before. It is a choice. I'm no complaining. My wife is beyond amazing and does things with food and money that very few people anywhere can do. So thanks love. You are a great wife and mom.

Then nights like tonight happen. The nights that as parents you wonder where you went wrong raising your kids. That you think it can only get better right?

"In my house it is good to try new things."
"Three bits chewed and swallowed."
"It will be there when you are hungry later."
"You can't have more juice until you have five more bits."

Those are things we say in my house. You might say things like that also. But it is an attempt to keep our kids eating new things. It is to cut down on the amount of work the person making dinner has to do. If you can just make one meal for everyone you are going to save time. But tonight we added a new saying in our house:

"That's fine, if you don't eat it tonight we will have it for breakfast!"

Now I am not saying it was the right thing to do, or say. I don't know if I would have followed through with it. But in the end the threat was enough to get them to eat more of there food. Our dinner wasn't that bad.

At one time I did catch myself saying, "Your right it is gross, but you can eat it." The laughter that came from Erin really made my night. In the heat of the moment we as parents say some of the dumbest things.

So how do we over come our weakness? I don't have all the answers. But laughter and joy can set the tone for every meal. Keep an open mind and mouth. If you do those things then the same thing can be great every day and when you get a meal that isn't all that stellar you will look on the brighter side. Good luck trying new things. Those are the true pearls that come from cooking.

Who knew it would change my life? (Well almost.)

First off I want to say welcome. I hope that the ride continues for a very long time and you can enjoy every post and minute of the ride with us. I hope you to can walk hand in hand with us on our journey.

So a little background on myself. I am a guy. Lets get that out there. I do my fair share of the cooking around here. I love to cook. I love to cook things out of my garden and cook new things. But is hasn't always really been that way. See that picture down below. It contains what started it all. Can you see it???

All the way in the back you see that tome. Ya in the back. That huge chunk of dead trees. The one that any librarian would be happy to have in the encyclopedia section of there book vault. That book is the Joy of Cooking. If you have never heard of it or don't have it go get it. Go get it now. Stop reading click this link. I'll wait....

Okay you back? Great. That book will tell you everything you ever will need to know about cooking American food. It has done to American cooking what Julia Child did for french cooking. We use that book almost every night in our home. Want to know how to cook dumplings? Page 321. How about Chutneys? Page 63. You get the idea. But guess what. That wasn't it. That is part of my love. It was a present when we got married, and we use it more then almost anything given to us on that great day.

But go look again. See that white bowl in the front. The one with the chip on the rim and a crack just forming in the front and a little to the right. That is really what did it. How could a bowl give me my love of cooking. Well you wouldn't know that because you haven't used it. If you had, you like me would seek opportunities to use it again. Its porcelain and heavy. Right there in the front is a second bottom, an edge you can set it on when your mixing your goods. That is right it has two bottoms!?! One for straight up and one for about 75 degrees. The perfect mixing bowl. I want to use it. I want to use it again and again. When I start cooking I grab it first. I want to make pie (page 856 in JOC) in it. I want to make some Hollandaise sauce (page 55 in JOC) in it. That got me cooking. Strange I know.

When we got married that was given to us. I started using it for simple things. You know, like eating my cold cereal in it or a hand full of screws. But I found I like it, so when Erin needed something mixed I volunteered. So it got me in the kitchen. After that it was easy to keep me there.

So thank you bowl. Thank you. May you continue to make my life happy, I am pretty easy to please.

The Introduction of Us!

We are a married couple, that have been married happily since 2001. Things haven't been perfect, or even what we could have imagined, but we love each other and stand by each other hand in hand. We have three wonderful kids, who we love more than we thought possible. They keep us on our toes and sometimes test our patience, but at the end of the day we wouldn't trade them for anything; they always find some way to melt our hearts. Jeremy is a computer geek by trade and choice. Erin (me) gets to be a stay at home mom. We enjoy cooking and food. We don't consider ourselves to be expert, but are always looking for some new recipe to try. For some crazy reason we decided to start blogging together about food. I hope you enjoy our posts and try some of the recipes we are going to share.
We've committed to posted three days a week, so here is our schedule: Monday's we'll post a recipe that we have made recently. Wednesday's will be a post by Erin on whatever she feels like. And last but not least will be Jeremy's turn on Friday to share his thoughts. Although we might surprise you and post more often, but you can at least expect something Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.