Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shrimp Diavolo Recipe:

Shrimp Diavolo Recipe Thanks Sapphire

jar Trader Joe's Marinara Sauce
Can of diced tomates
2 TBSP red pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp sugar
oregano and/or italian seasoning sprinkle to your liking

Saute shrimp in olive oil, garlic powder, and oregano.
Linguine - add olive oil and salt (optional) to boil.
In sauce pan -- Add everything except linguine and let simmer for 40 mins

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Where's the Beef

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Beef basics
Did you know that beef is divided into sections called primal cuts? From these large areas, the meat cutter makes smaller portions suitable for individual or family-sized packaging. Different cuts of beef require unique cooking methods. A chuck, for example, makes an excellent roast but isn't as pleasing when pan-broiled. With these details in mind, we have prepared the following information for you to use as a guide when selecting and preparing Certified Angus Beef ® cuts.

Meat is basically muscle, and the chuck happens to be a heavily exercised area. Luckily, this area contains a great deal of connective tissue, including collagen. Collagen melts during cooking, making the meat intensely flavorful. Cuts from this area benefit from slow, wet cooking methods like stewing, braising or pot-roasting.

Blade Roast—an inexpensive cut which lies next to the ribs; more tender than most chuck; makes an excellent roast. Alternatively, the roast can be cut into a rib-eye steak, with meat above and below the bone excellent for stir-fry dishes
Chuck Steak—a good choice for kabobs if well marinated

Download a detailed, printable PDF retail beef cuts chart.

Tender and flavorful ribs can be cooked any number of ways. Most recipes call for ribs to be roasted, sauteed, pan-fried, broiled, or grilled.

Rib Roast—known as a standing rib roast (bone left in), or without the bone for convenient slicing. Excellent when dry roasted. A seven-bone prime rib roast can be quite a hefty addition to the dinner table. It is great for a crowd, but for a small family a bone roast will do. Many butchers will cut a roast to order for you
Rib Steak—also cut from the rib section, these tender steaks can be purchased bone-in or as boneless rib-eye
Short Loin
This area boasts extremely tender cuts and can be prepared without the aid of moist heat or long cooking times. Cuts from the short loin may be sautéed, pan fried, broiled, pan broiled or grilled.

Porterhouse Steak—a very popular steak cut from the rear end of the short loin; the name originated from the days when it was served in public alehouses that also served a dark beer called porter. The porterhouse consists of both tenderloin and strip steak. The tenderloin is often served separately as filet mignon
T-bone Steak—cut from the middle section of the short loin; similar to the porterhouse steak; has a smaller piece of the tenderloin; usually grilled or pan-fried
Tenderloin—often considered the most tender cut of beef; responds well to sauces, meaning the meat does not overpower the flavor of the sauce. It can be cut as the whole strip, or into individual steaks for filet mignon
"The backbone's connected to the … hipbone"—not a song, but a sirloin. These tender cuts respond well to sautéing, pan-frying, broiling, pan-broiling or grilling.

Sirloin Steaks—these steaks are available in a variety of boneless and bone-in steaks
Sirloin Tip Roast—excellent when dry roasted or marinated
This meat is lean, muscular and very flavorful. Flank is primarily used for flank steaks and rolled flank steaks. It can also be used for kabobs.

Flank Steak—this steak has a great flavor, and should be sliced thin against the grain for maximum chewability. Use to make the classic London broil
Short Plate
This section is best used for stew meat, where its rich, beefy flavor can be appreciated.

The round consists of lean meat well-suited to long, moist cooking methods.

Top Round—this is the most tender part of the round; it can be prepared as pot roast or cut into thick steaks for braised dishes
Rump Roast—a very popular cut for pot roast, but can also be roasted at low temperatures
Traditionally used for corned beef, brisket is best prepared with moist heat. Suitable preparation methods include stewing, braising and pot-roasting.

Foreshank—excellent stew meat
Brisket First Cut—a leaner cut of the brisket, for those who want the flavor but not the fat of a brisket pot roast
Brisket Front Cut—fork tender and succulent, a Certified Angus Beef ® pot roast made with this cut is truly mouthwatering

A wonderful Defination of WHY to partipate in Controlled/No Spend

On our thread I do a Question of the Week. This week my question was "How has this thread changed your habits? What tangible benefits have you seen by being a member? I know we occassionally get someone on here that just doesn't get the concept of no spend is so much more then no spending 10 days to blow everything on day 11."

Honeylioness had a wonderful answer I think really defines WHAT we are about:

"I will admit that during my first two months of lurking, I wondered just how in the WORLD someone could not spend any money at ALL for 25 days? Did they just pay all their bills one day a month, and that same day do the food shopping for the month? Like many new to the concept I saw it as horribly, and restrictively, black or white – an opinion first based merely on the name of the thread.

But once I came to understand that it was not so totalitarian and was more about finding a way that worked for you to track your spending and any “leaks” in the wallet, it has felt more like a tool and less like a punishment. I wish I could say that I have paid off five extra years from the mortgage, or now have an EF of six months take home – but alas that would not be true.

What I do have however is a better awareness of where my “leaks” are, what are my hot buttons that make me want to spend on things I really don’t need or really cannot afford right now. And an awareness of the fact when I AM spending money. I think that awareness is key to learning a new behavior or paradigm. Just like lumberlady, some of us have had to look hard in the mirror and acknowledge that we had a problem. Until people can do that, be it an addiction to alcohol or drugs or credit cards ….. they will never really GET it."

Thanks Honeylioness!

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Moving Tips

Moving Tips from Honeylioness

1) Moving is a great time to purge. Find a closet or a corner of a room (the Dining Room is usually a good choice) and put a big box there with a piece of paper taped to the wall over it reading: DONATIONS. All family members, okay – I will write a note excusing the 1 year old – has the power / authority / whatever to put their unused, no longer wanted items into this space.
One thing to consider about an object you are unsure of keeping before you pack it is this: Do I need it / use it / love it? Is it worth it to me to spend $10-$40 to move it? (That is a ball park based on truck rental/mileage/gas/time. For my family, if the answer was “No” the item was given away)

2) Let’s say your largest moving date is March 7th. Call Goodwill / Salvation Army / Big Brothers whoever it is in your area to come to your home on March 5th or 6th to collect all the stuff in the DONATION corner. If you have an appointment and a plan it makes it less overwhelming to deal with.

3) PAPERWORK: This is something I often see people forget to handle until the day before. Make a list now on one sheet of paper the names, phone numbers and account numbers of all the utilities you will need to disconnect – and another page with the names and phone numbers of all those you will need to order at the new place. Having it written down will ensure you don’t forget the sewer utility or newspaper.

Go to the Post Office and fill out a Change of Address card for them to keep on file. This way even if you forgot to let a specific magazine know – it will get forwarded to you. It never is TOO early to do this.

Contact any and all creditors, banks, churches, publications, alumni societies and schools in writing about your change of address and keep a list of who you contacted and when. You can do some of this online or send a form letter “To Whom It May Concern” then leave a blank spot to reference your account number etc. Remember it may take some places up to three months before you get mail directly to the new address instead of with a forwarding sticker.
Contact your Auto and Homeowners insurance companies. Let them know you are moving and when. A lot of companies, if you let them know, will make a note or rider on the account so that if something happened in transit you would be covered – including driving the rental. Be sure to ask the agent about this. This should also eliminate the need for any over priced insurance the rental truck agency is going to try to sell you when you pick up the truck.

IF you need to change banks DO NOT close the old account before the new one is up and running. Especially if there are direct deposits or withdrawals connected to the account. Doing so, in the case of a payroll check, will cause a big hassle with the issuer and getting it made right can take weeks. Weeks you will be without those funds. Contact any company or employer who makes these automatic transactions and give them the new account info. Only once you see that the activity is running smoothly should you close the old accounts.

4) SUPPLIES: Check Craigslist, Freecycle and grocery stores for people looking to give away sturdy boxes, Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap. For dishes, glassware, porcelains and good china I highly endorse spending the $30 or so to purchase a package of blank newsprint from U-Haul or a local office of a moving company. It may seem like an indulgence to some but will save you HOURS of time having to re-wash everything you wrapped in newspapers as the ink will rub off.
And remember, not everything needs a box. Stuffed animals can be tossed into a large black hefty bag for the short journey. As can shoes, some toys and coats.

5) ORGANIZE: It gets really easy when you are tired or just wanting to finish filling a box so you can close it to just toss what ever is at hand into the box you are working on. But it is a nightmare at the other end because you will not remember that you put that bottle of Windex in with the stuff from the linen closet in the bathroom. Group items in the way that makes the most sense for you – remembering that you will not have the exact same storage set ups often in a new home as in the current. Example: Pack all cleaning items together instead of the room they are currently being used in.

6) HELPERS: Older children, in my view anyway, perfectly capable of helping the “Family” move. Get the younger one involved as well. It actually makes the transition easier if they feel some ownership of the process. The younger ones can help put canned and dry food into boxes (nothing they can break), put items from their rooms into boxes, help the day of by carrying light objects, couch cushions etc. The teenager can be taught how to help wrap kitchen dishes, go around and remove nails from wall where things used to hang, etc.

Speaking of which, as items are taken off the wall there are two strategies for dealing with the hooks, hangers or nails. One is to have an empty jar to dump all hardware into, the other is to have a roll of masking tape on your wrist. Remove the picture from the wall, pull out the nail from the wall, tape the nail to the back of the picture before it is wrapped and stacked for moving. Do what makes sense to you.

7) PACKING: This is a personal pet peeve which you can take, or not, as it fits for you. However I have NEVER packed a box of towels!!! Towels, extra blankets, extra pillows, out of season coats or throw pillows I consider as FREE packing material. A bath towel crumpled in the bottom of a box, especially for a short move, is an acceptable cushioning for dishes. A blanket wrapped around the bases of at least two lamps keeps them chip free, lining a large box’s sides with a few throw pillows makes a nice safe “well” to place wrapped stemware into, face clothes make great filler for gaps in boxes of china or place settings.

I place my good china in the folds of my “nice” linens to keep them from scratching each other before placing them in a box. Or layer the plates between cloth napkins then wrap them in clean newsprint four at a time. TIP: Plates should be packed so they are “standing” on their edges. Believe it or not, this position is less likely to cause breakage then if they are stacked flat in a box where the shock waves transfer too rapidly to the plate above if dropped.

For a short moves I would not bother emptying dresser/bureau drawers. I would instead tuck small knick-knack items amongst the socks, t-shirts and undies. The day of the move you take out the drawers, carry the case to the moving truck, then carry the drawers and put them back in place. Reverse process at the other end. If the entire unit is not that large or heavy, sometimes two strong men will not even need to empty the drawers.

8) LABEL: Label, Label Label !!!!!!! ALL boxes should be clearly labeled on at least the two opposite sides AND the top. And the labels must be consistent: DR (Dining Room not Danny’s room), ABC (child #1 initials), Bath, LR etc. For kids it is often better to get several large sheets of colored sticker dots. The 16 year old gets yellow, the four year old blue etc… Everything from that child’s room gets these stickers including furniture. You can place them on the back of the dresser, behind the headboard, on the bed frame. If it is a separate item to carry it gets that colored sticker.

For boxes from the kitchen and dining room I would suggest one of two ways of “inventory” so you can find what you need on the arriving end. Either write clearly on the box what is inside: dry goods, canned food, glasses and cups, pans, bake ware etc. Or use a numbering system like Kit-1, Kit-2 and keep a separate list on a clipboard saying what is in each box. The first is fine for a short move with friends, but I would never do it with a professional long haul move as it temps too many people to make sure the box does not make it to it’s destination.

9) FIRST DAY BOX: This is an insider’s tip that has saved us more than once. You pack 1-2 boxes with items you need for that “First Day”: sheets for every bed, two rolls of T.P., a bar of soap, roll of paper towels, paper cups, small saucepan, plastic utensils, instant coffee/tea, baggie of sugar, baggie of creamer, baggies of any pet food – think of anything you will NEED the first 12 hours and pack it into these boxes. Don’t forget things like prescriptions, aspirin, screwdriver and hammer. These boxes are labeled in big letters LAST / FIRST and placed in the bathtub of the old home. They are the last items onto the truck and the first off where they go back into the bathtub. In the chaos of a move it is a wonderful feeling to realize that Yes, you do know where there is some toilet paper!
The tub being a very safe place to put things as most people would never think to look there so they do not “wander” into a truck. I also put the cat carriers into the tub and lock the cats a bathroom or large storage closet for the duration of the move with a big sign saying to Keep Out – Wild Animals Inside.

10) PRE-ARRANGE: Once you have a new home take a few minutes to sketch out each room on a separate piece of notebook paper. It does not have to be fancy (for instance I do to-scale drawings – but that is just too an@l retentive for most people!! ). For example – you might sketch your bedroom with quick notes as to door, window etc. The purpose is ….. to draw onto this sheet where the main pieces of furniture goes (bed, dresser, desk, couch etc). This way when your husband’s buddy from work, who has never seen your new home, is carrying your side chair and can’t find you he will merely need to look at this rough sketch, which you will have taped to the room door the day of the move, and know approximately where to set the chair down. So that the two guys behind him with the bed don’t have to shuffle a pile of boxes out of the way, or worse yet, wind up just making a huge unruly jumbled pile of bed rails, boxes and furniture. Along with the door sketches I also tape a sheet of paper to the wall that says BOXES in big bold letters. So that my helpers don’t pile up boxes that have to be moved out of the way before the Fridge can be hooked up.

For each room you have used the colored dot system for, be sure to add a few of the same dots to each room sketch. Then take a few moments in the morning to let your helpers know what the dots mean. They will actually thank you for this, as taking things off the truck(s) and into the house will move more smoothly than you can imagine. And cousin Bill will take a moment to say to himself “Hmmm… I could just take three random boxes, OR three green dot boxes this trip and not be wandering around the house for five minutes.”

11) MOVING DAY: I think there are two critical things to remember here. One – BREATHE. It is just a move and not the end of civilization as we know it. And Two – A well-fed helper is a happy and productive helper.

Never underestimate the good will and amount of work you will get from an investment in a box of coffee (aka Dunkin’ Donuts), some bagels and fruit for the morning crew. I keep a cooler with drinks, water, soda on the kitchen counter of whichever house we are working in for anyone to help themselves along with a supply of bananas, grapes and tangerines. Ask a friend or relative to make a big pot of chili or soup or anything one-dish like. A loaf of fresh bread from a nearby store and a package of cookies and you gather everyone together for either a late lunch or early dinner when the u-haul is emptied out. Of course, you will need disposable everything just this once as you will be too tired to do dishes.

BEDS: remember that First Day box you packed? Now is where you will see why I think it so important. Once each bedroom has it’s bed frame and mattress moved, get them put together and set up. Then get the sheets from the Box in the tub and make up the bed. You will thank me for this. Consider trying to find the energy to do this at 9:00 pm when you are so tired you can barely remember your own name? This way you and the kids can just collapse into bed when you want.

CLOTHES: For a short move like this I second the other ladies’ suggestion. If you have access to a minivan or station wagon you can get a lot of clothes laid down in the back of one. Just don’t try to carry too many at once as they are always heavier than they look.

CHILDREN: If you are worried that it will be too difficult having the two or three youngest underfoot is there a grandparent/godparent/ relative that could make their contribution to the move by watching them for the day?

Hard as it is to believe I am sure there are things I have forgotten to mention …. I hope this little novel has not put you into a panic, and that you did not fall asleep reading it by this point.

Guess once I got started I just kept thinking of things to add!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Book List

Here is a list of the books we have discussed being useful to our members.

Basic Personal Finance
These books offer a wide view, discussing many aspects of money. They offer advice about saving, investing, and getting out of debt. They don’t go into much detail about any one subject, but they provide motivation to get started. And that’s what’s most important.

The Millionaire Next Door by Stanley and Danko
Your Money or Your Life by Dominguez and Robin
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton
The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason


Saving money is a key skill to develop if you hope to get rich. (Read The Millionaire Next Door if you don’t believe me.) Here are four books that can help you learn to cut corners, to save money in ways that may not have occurred to you.

How to Live Well Without Owning a Car by Chris Balish
Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy
The Joy of Simple Living by Jeff Davidson
Wealth on Minimal Wage by James Steamer
Another highly-regarded book on frugality is
The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn.

This set of books deals specifically with investing. The four books I keep at hand are user-friendly. They’re not technical, but offer a good introduction to the topic.

The Automatic Millioinaire by David Bach
The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need by Andrew Tobias (Wonderful. Wonderful. Wonderful)
The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing by Larimore, Lindauer, and LeBoeuf
Yes, You Can…Achieve Financial Independence by James Stowers Two other classics on investing are
The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham and
A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel.