Monday, March 22, 2010

Bread Store Shopping Trip

So growing up in my small hometown in Maine, it was normal to go to the bread store for all your bread needs. There was everything from bread to English muffins to pretzels to peanut butter to every kind of Hostess product you could imagine (I got to have 1 Swiss Roll in my lunchbox...). And all this at ridiculously low prices like $0.99- $1.50 for a loaf of bread depending on the quality. My mom still refuse to pay retail for bread if she can avoid it.

So I moved out here and I resigned myself to the fact that I would just have to pay retail for bread. I would just buy what was on sale and somewhat nutritionally sound.

But a few weeks back my mom came to visit. We were driving down the street and she exclaims, "There's a bread store." I sigh. Of course she would find one down the street from my apartment within days of being here that I haven't seen in 3 months of living here. So I made my way over there a few days after she left and came home with this stash.

2 loaves of "good" bread (the 100% whole wheat and potato)
1 loaf "white" bread (I don't like it but The Boy will eat it and hey it was free)
2 Minestorne soup starters (love these for quick meals)
2 packages of Thomas Betterstart Light English muffins (loves these with peanut butter)
1 jar peanut butter
1 bear of honey (I love the bear of honey. It's so cute.)

And my total cost was $14 and change (I don't remember exactly). In the store I would have paid at least $30 based on my guessimates. I could run the numbers exactly but I don't feel like it. Perhaps I will check out the retail prices for the equivalent of these products next time I go grocery shopping.

In closing, I LOVE THE BREAD STORE! and I will not be buying bread in the grocery store anymore.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Good Morning America

One of the perks of living in Los Angeles is that there are lots of free things to do. I was looking at the webpage for free studio tapings and I found that Good Morning America was taping here the morning after the Oscar's. I convinced The Boy to tag along with me for the taping.

Now let me remind you of 2 things:
1.) Los Angeles is 3 hours behind New York where GMA is based.
2.) GMA goes on the air at 7 AM in New York.

Do a little math. Now what time did taping start here? It's okay, I'll wait...

That's right taping started at 4 AM.

We had to be at the studio two hours prior to taping. And based on my experiences it is best to be there an hour before the scheduled time. So we got there at 1 AM. We didn't even bother going to bed.

It was a lot of waiting and even though we were numbers 25 and 26 in line we were only in one shot on the broadcast (if you happened to see the show we were sitting behind the "Bleacher Creatures" and when then did the intro to their piece, you could see us sitting behind them). The whole point of doing this was so that I could call my nana and say "Did you see me on GMA?" and of course she missed that one little shot.

Oh well it was a bit of an adventure but in the end I think it didn't have the return that I though it would. It's fun playing tourist in my own city but this was not what I thought it would be. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go take a nap.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I have a confession to make. I am a horrible housekeeper. I try so hard but I have yet to find a way that works. I like to come up with systems that will keep me clutter and mess free but my desk and dining room table show that something just isn't clicking.
So what is a girl to do? Well I've been reading over at Organizing Junkie and Complete Organizing Solutions and have determined that they way to get organized is to just bite the bullet and get moving.

Here's the plan:
Desk area
  • Need a system for incoming mail and bills so that they get paid
  • Need a space and system for lesson planning
  • Need to re-evaluate filing system so that it is current to my needs
Bathroom/ Sink area
  • Need a reminder system for meds
  • Need to corral cosmetics and hair products so they are not just "out" all the time
  • Create storage area in the open area near the door for random things that don't have homes (extra linens, sports equipment, cleaning products)
  • Organize shower tub so that products have home
Sleeping area
  • Find permanent home for humidifier
  • System for movies
  • System for books and reading materials
Stay tuned for progress rpoerts and before and after pictures.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Slow Cooker Pot Roast with Garlic Mashed Potatoes

That looks great, right? Let me tell you it is just as delicious as it looks. And it is super easy with the use of my CrockPot and 3 packets (you know like you use to make dip) from the grocery store. It took me 10 minutes to prep the pot roast and 30 minutes to make the mashed potatoes including boil time.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast (adapted from Crockpot365)
2-3 lb Roast (pork or beef)
1 packet Ranch dip mix
1 packet Italian dressing mix
1 packet au jus, gravy or beef stew mix
1 cup wine (or water if you prefer, I like wine)
1-2 cups water

Optional: carrots, onions, celery chopped

Pour the packets into the bottom of the Crockpot. Put the roast in the Crockpot and turn the roast a couple times to coat the roast with the delicious seasoning. Then add your chopped veggies if you are going to add them. Pour the wine (or water if that's how you roll) over everything. Put the lid on and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Mine took 6. The meat should fall apart when you try to separate it with a couple of forks. If it doesn't it needs more time. If it is not time to eat, just flip the crockpot to warm. 1 hour before eating, add the 1-2 cups water and put the crock on high. This makes the broth a little less salty and lets it thicken a bit. Start getting your potatoes ready about 30 minutes before you want to sit down to dinner.

Garlic-y Mashed Potatoes
5-6 medium potatoes, chopped into about 1 1/2 inch size pieces
1 cup broth (from your pot roast or a box)
1-2 T butter
1/4 cup half and half
2 cloves garlic

Peel and chop the potatoes. Add them to cold water. Yes it has to be cold. I think Alton Brown once told me it leads to gummy potatoes. Something about the outsides cooking faster then the insides and then getting gummy. ANYWAY, throw the garlic into the pot too then boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes. Potatoes are done when they are fork tender (that means you can pierce them easily with a fork but they don't fall apart). Drain them then put them back in the pot. Add the broth and but and mash them up a bit. Then add the half and half and mash them a bit more. They will still be a bit chunky if you don't whip them but I like them that way.

The Verdict:
The meat was perfect. According to the boy, "The meat was tender but not so tender that it falls off your fork which is annoying." The potatoes were great (especially with the pot roast juices on top) but not as garlicy as I would have liked. I read somewhere that adding a couple cloves while the potatoes are boiling makes them garlicly but it wasn't as much as I would have liked. Over all it was delicious.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where Have All the DDs Gooonnne?

So the one thing that I absolutely miss about the east coast is Dunkin Donuts. I mean I come from a town that has a Dunkin on every major street (not kidding). I was able to cope with the relative scarcity of DD while living in the Mid-Atlantic because there were a few key Dunkins that I could go to for a Iced Coffee or 1/2 cocoa, 1/2 coffee fix.

But here there are none. Not just, I would have to drive out of my way to get to one. There are actually none within 50 mile. Look I even searched.

I've started to make do with Iced Coffee from Starbucks, but something isn't quite right and I think it is the size. A medium Iced Coffee from DD is 24 oz which I can sip all morning and a grande Iced Coffee at Starbucks is only 16 oz. Somehow I feel incomplete after finishing the Starbucks Iced Coffee. I think that the solution is going to have to be that I start brewing my own coffee and then refrigerating it. It will be cheaper, because Starbucks is expensive and I don't like the emptyness I feel after drinking a Starbucks.

So who is going to buy me a coffee maker?