Thursday, August 5, 2010

You know what they say about beef ..

Yes, even after all these years and several spokespersons, Robert Mitchum said it best.  He was absolutely right and while I was growing up, beef was served at just about every meal my Mama ever put in front of me.  It was our prefered protein and it seems to be the same in my own household.  

We bought up a few eye of round roasts the other night while they were on sale.
I thought to myself how fabulous that would taste using the rotisserie in my new toaster oven.

I went about gathering up some spices to make a rub for the roast.

I don't measure out anything usually .. I go by sight.
There's lots of garlic powder because that's how I roll.
What you see here is still not enough for me .. I could use more, seriously!

I mix it up a bit with my fingers to incorporate everything.

Roll that bad boy in them spices and coat it as evenly as possible.

Look at that work of art .. man, that's gonna be tasty!

Get it skewered and put it in place.
For a beef roast like this, you need to cook it for 30-35 minutes per pound.

Are you kidding me?  How can you not get excited by something so glorious?

I let it rest for about 5-10 minutes so it won't lose any of its juices.
I feel it's key to keeping meat moist and delicious.

There you have it .. cooked to perfection and ready to be eaten for dinner tonight or save it in the refrigerator or freezer for the makings of dinner for another night like we did.

For example, this BBQ beef sandwich ..
.. a little bit of BBQ sauce mixed with some thinly sliced roast and ouila ..


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Please excuse Deidra's absense from the blogging world ..

As some of you may have noticed, I've been out of commission from my blog since May.  Everything was going just fine .. silly Dutch guy was finally working again, we were stretching our money out nicely then, all of a sudden BOOM, I got sick.  Not just sick, I became diabetic.  Mind you, I'm such a foodie and now, I'm a  foodie with DIABETESUgh!  Are you kidding me, Lord?  A ginormous food lover and I get stricken with the diabetes.  How ironic is that?  Although I shake my fist at the bizarro turn of events, I'm ever so grateful for the wake up call.  Perhaps I was a bit 'gluttonous'?  Perhaps, I was an over achieving eater?  Who knows?  All I know is this here frugal girl is now having to hand over LOADS of money for better foods, medications and a meter to check my blood sugar 4 times a day.  Thank God for insurance!

So, what happens now?

First thing, I have to tighten the belt a bit further now to accommodate .. especially since silly Dutch guy is yet again out of work and relying solely on my income.  Good news though, I got a raise!  Thank you, Wal*Mart!  What would I do without you?

Secondly, I get to create healthier meals!  I get to watch my carbs!  I get to be more active and make a conscience effort to be healthy.  Ever since May, I have lost a total of 28 lbs., that's HUGE for me!  This great news isn't without it's bad news .. for my silly Dutch guy, it's hard to see his fat little wife dropping the chub.  He loves the chub .. he worships the chub .. but, the chub is killing me and he wants the wifey around for a few more years.  It seems that everyone has to sacrifice something in this family!

So, as to where I stand, I will make a conscious effort to blog more now that I'm getting my diabetes under control and actually feel like doing things once again.  Silly Dutch guy was very generous with my wedding anniversary present last month (thank you, Behbe <3 ) and gifted me accordingly ..

This gorgeous stand mixer

 This sleek microwave 

This compact refrigerator was purchased a few months back when we got our state income tax refund.

With all these new toys to play with, now all I have to do is get a new kitchen to match them and I'm all set!!!

Oh honeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey, are you free?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cold brewed iced coffee .. a prayer answered!

Like millions of folks, I get my friend groove going on Facebook.  As a member, about 90% of my status updates will involve what I've made or am making for breakfast, lunch or dinner .. sometimes dessert.  I like to ask what everyone else is making from time to time.  I never really gave it a second though until just recently when a fellow high school alumni left a comment on my page asking why my posts always seemed to center around food.

I had to confess .. *sigh* .. it's because I'm a foodie.  I might be poor as a church mouse but, I'm a foodie through and through.  I love reading recipes, I love reading cookbooks and I absolutely love food magazines.  Ever since I was a little girl, I've been fascinated by how ingredients come together.  I remember helping my Mama make pie and when she had left over pie crust, I rolled it out, cut it into strips and sprinkled them with cinnamon sugar.  I baked them with Mama's help and I thought they were the best thing ever.  So flaky, so crisp, so sweet .. and I always burned my mouth because I never could wait until they cooled off.  It seems patience hasn't always been my friend.

We don't own a coffee maker and I have been CRAVING coffee for a while now.  Starbucks is ridiculously overpriced and even though McDonalds has the McCafe going on, I'm still not convinced it's worth paying $2+ for an iced coffee.  My pennies have to be pinched for the better good despite my wants!  Boo hoo for me!  I heard about something called 'cold brew' in which you soak coffee grounds overnight and strain it using the 'concentrate' to make your coffee.  I found this fascinating!  I can get my coffee fix AND not have to deal with another appliance on my already crowded kitchen counter.

One day while browsing the glutton's paradise Foodgawker, I typed in the search engine 'cold brewed iced coffee'.  The search led me to a few different recipes and after clicking onto them all, the last one I clicked on led me to a duo named Clay and Zach.  These two gorgeous guys started The Bitten Word solely on the fact that although they loved food magazines (fellas after my own foodie heart), they hadn't been the best at putting them to use (much like myself).  They post their results after their cooking adventures to show how they turned out.  They made an iced coffee using a recipe from and I figured it looked easy enough so, I had a go at it.

I bought a flavored coffee at Walmart for $1 ..
Don't that sound tasty?

Poured it into a container for its overnight stay.

The recipe calls for 1 1/2 c. water per 1/3 c. ground coffee.

Your coffee grounds should be completely covered.

Place a lid on your container and let it rest at room temperature
overnight or 12 hours.  Make sure you have something guarding
its safety .. my Delft cow creamer was up to the task at hand.

Strain your concentrate through a fine mesh sieve or some
cheesecloth making sure not to let any grounds escape.
I strain it into a container with a lid so I can mix everything
together and pour into my glass.
I usually put a coffee filter in my sieve so I don't have a lot of
grounds to mess with.  Even after it's drained, I'll wrap my
ball of coffee grounds in two more filters and squeeze out the
excess liquid that's hiding.   I want every bit of coffee I can get.

After adding an equal amount of water, some powdered milk
and sweeten to taste, I shake it up until everything is combined and
pour my concoction over ice into a not so fancy plastic cup.

 Looks good, doesn't it?  Looks strangely familiar, doesn't it?

And, it tastes absolutely delicious .. for less $$!!!

Cold-Brewed Iced Coffee

Originally posted on

1/3 cup ground coffee (medium-coarse grind is best)
Milk (optional).
1. In a jar, stir together coffee and 1 1/2 cups water.
Cover and let rest at room temperature overnight or 12 hours.

2. Strain twice through a coffee filter, a fine-mesh sieve or a sieve
lined with cheesecloth. In a tall glass filled with ice,
mix equal parts coffee concentrate and water, or to taste.

If desired, add milk. 

Yield: Two drinks.

NOTE: To make hot coffee, dilute concentrate one-to-one
with water and heat in the microwave.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rockstar ice cream float & birthday wishes

Ok, does everyone know what the Rockstar energy drinks are? It is the most tastiest energy drink I've ever had the pleasure to consume.  They sure have come in handy after a sleepless night or an especially rough day at work and I need some energy to go somewhere unexpected.  Well, one day, I got a crazy idea to try it in an ice cream float.
Here's the story:

Last summer, my friend Laura posted on Facebook that her and her daughter were hosting a Float party at their house.  Guests were encouraged to bring their own favorite drink to make a unique float besides the basic root beer and cola flavors.  Silly Dutch guy and I were debating on using a Rockstar and what better place to try it than at a float party?

We got there with Rockstars in tow, got our cup with vanilla ice cream in it and tried it ..

it .. was .. amazing ..

Pure and simple genius .. 

You can take any vanilla ice cream, a glass and an energy drink
of your choice .. we just love the taste of the plain o'l Rockstar
above anything else.  There's a variety to choose from so, pick your fave.

Look at that head of creamy vanilla foam .. 

I mean seriously .. how beautiful is that?

I made mine in a Grolsch beer glass but, you could use
anything I'm sure .. I just think it's neat looking at all
that glorious color of the drink and the ice cream.

We buy the 4 pack when they're on sale and try to stock up on them.  And because it was so close to my birthday (April 21), I decided to treat myself .. I felt like I deserved something special .. and since I can't afford to treat myself to this thing of beauty:

My dream mixer in willow blue!
Isn't she purty?

The least I could do is treat myself to an ice cream float .. happy birthday to me!

And in the blink of an eye ..
All gone .. bye bye ..

Do something special for yourself today .. birthday or no birthday ..

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Unexpected expenses and Chicken Noodle soup!

It never fails, huh?  Just when you think it couldn't get any worse financially, it happens ..
The inevitable ..
It strikes when you least expect it ..

Unexpected expenses!


We had four within weeks of each other and what can you do .. you can either laugh or cry and I decided to choose the first!  Usually, things like this bother me but, I chose to see beyond the dark of the issues at hand.  In the course of a month, these things happened:
  • I came down with the stomach flu .. missed 3 days of work, doctor bill and medication.
  • Got rid of the broken down refrigerator with limited freezer space and invested in a new stand up freezer from Sears.
  • Doggies!  Blacks had an ear infection, Spots had a skin infection and both needed medications, rabies shots and deworming.
  • The car stopped running and found we needed a new fuel pump.
When someone came up with the adage, 'When it rains, it pours', they weren't joking!  So, things have been spread pretty thin around here but, we've managed somehow.  Thankfully, we were pretty lucky a generous coworker of mine had her hubby check out the car and tow it to the mechanics for us.  I dug around for hidden money (gift cards are a blessing when they have a $1 or two left on them), cashed in a rebate check for $6.27 and broke out our spare change just until the silly Dutch guy gets paid.  Thankfully, we had a stocked pantry and a few items in the freezer to nurse off of until we get a full paycheck again (and even when that happens, it's back to the mechanic for a few more things needing fixed on the car).  And for Easter (things like this only seem to happen to us during the holidays), we were blessed with a huge tasty ham from a very generous and selfless friend of ours to which I was truly grateful!

Once I started feeling better during the stomach flu phase, I felt like some homemade Chicken Noodle soup.  Now mind you, I save the carcasses from a rotisserie chicken I buy from the Wal*Mart deli when they have them marked down 2 for $5.  I bag them up and put them in the freezer.  On occasion, I'll bag up a whole chicken instead of picking all the meat off it just for the heck of it!  So ..

In a soup pot full of water, add one whole chicken plus a carcass
and begin boiling.
I put them in frozen because I don't think it makes a
difference whether they're thawed or not.
The marinade in the rotisserie chicken makes all the 
difference in my broth being rich and flavorful.
Keep adding water to your pot if the water level starts
getting too low.

After boiling for what seems like an eternity, or in most cases,
3 to 4 hours, remove the chickens and begin straining
the broth.  I use a colander lined with coffee filters
over a big bowl to catch all the tiny bits of bone 
and junk that collects while boiling.

The strained broth goes back into the soup pot along
with 4-5 boneless and skinless chicken breasts and
continue to cook until breasts are cooked through.
Remove breasts and cut up or tear into strips when
cooled and add back into your broth.
Once your rotisserie chicken has cooled down enough
to handle, strip the meat off of it and add to your broth.
Whatever meat you don't eat, save it for another use.
We only eat the breast meat on most occasions so,
I'll take the remaining meat and freeze it.  Once I get enough
gathered up, I add cooked macaroni or rice,
peas and cooked carrots and give my dogs a special
dinner to break the monotony of their canned dinner.

Take 4 stalks of celery, 4 carrots and a large onion,
cleaned and chopped up.
Add them to your soup pot.

Don't get rid of the celery leaves, they are delicious
and add much needed nutrition to your soup du jour.
Keep cooking for another hour or until veggies are tender.

The silly Dutch guy bought these one time by mistake
and had been sitting in the freezer for a while.
I thought they'd be rather tasty in my soup.
You could use any noodle, homemade or dry.
I like to add about 3T. dried parsley during this time
and cook until your noodles are done.

Look at that bowl of rich and tasty goodness!
There's something to be said about home cooking
even when cheating with an already cooked chicken!

What to do with all the left over celery when you don't own a refrigerator?
Chop up the remaining stalks, spread them out on a baking sheet
and freeze.  Once they're frozen, put them in a ziplock freezer
bag, remove as much air as humanly possible and return to
the freezer for future uses.  Foods like celery, green pepper,
onion, etc. that are just going to eventually be cooked can be
frozen and added to your recipe since they soften up during
cooking anyway.

And I can't end my post without acknowledging one of the
newest additions to the Manintveld family.
This little guy, along with his bigger brother, were adopted
from Aldi a couple months ago for $9.99 each.
They have made our little family pretty happy lately!

And on that note, I hope you find much happiness despite the sad and the bad and the mad ..
Dwelling on the negative only wastes your time .. find something to fix that in a positive way!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sandwich Thins goody giveaway!

I was given the fabulous opportunity to host a 'Sandwich Thins Sandwich Revolution House Party' recently thanks in part to House Party.  I was really excited to be a part of something revolutionary, something exciting .. and then, the roof fell in.  Apparently, these are NOT available in my area.

Are you kidding me?  Is this some kind of sick joke?

Nope, it wasn't a joke .. I was so disappointed but alas, I wasn't the only one suffering this dilemna .. there were many other hosts having trouble finding 'Sandwich Thins' products as well.  There are many retailers in my area not carrying this product and to be quite frank, it's their loss.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, House Party was kind enough to overnight 4 packages of these rolls specifically to hold up their end of the bargain and for me to supply my party with rolls.  I found it rather silly to host a party with a product not readily available anywhere in my area, especially since part of the goody bag I was to hand out included $1 off coupons.

I was given the option to host or not to host .. I initially decided not to host.

So, here I was, 4 packs of rolls, I gave one a shot .. it was the best tasting sandwich roll I've tasted yet!  Why aren't these available here?  Now I'm hooked!

I couldn't stand it .. I ended up taking the rest of my rolls, some deli meats and cheeses and the goody bags up to a relatives house to share the wealth.  Not a complaint was made with the exception of not being able to buy the rolls around here!

So, here's the deal .. I've got goody bags left over .. 5 in all!  They are ALL up for grabs!  It includes:

  • Reusable grocery bag
  • 2 Grocery list pads
  • 5 blank recipe cards
  • Set of 3 recipe cards
  • Nutrition facts and healthy living tips
And the best part is, if your area happens to carry Oroweat/Arnold 'Sandwich Thins', I'll be including a coupon with your goody bag!

Make a comment below to be included in the drawing letting me know what your favorite sandwich ingredient is!  Drawings will be done at Random and ends at noon CST on March 7th, winners will be notified by email so, leave a valid email address in your comment.  And please don't forget to write in your comment if 'Sandwich Thins' are available where you live so I can give you a $ off coupon!!

One lucky winner will be getting a 'Sandwich Thins' cutting board along with your goody bag .. it could be YOU!  Good luck to all and start telling me your favorite sandwich ingredient today!

Contest is now over!
We have our winners in the order of responding
to this offer, via my blog and my facebook page:

Laura B.
Janet P.
Rhonda W.
Fel T.

There were only 5 entries for this contest so, I picked one winner at Random for the 'Sandwich Thins' cutting board!
The winner is:

Rhonda W.
Congratulations everybody!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Our local 'dented can' store and why I should go there more often ..

We happen to live in the town of Aurora, Missouri (pop. 7,478).
We happen to be among the cities 'poor' elite.
We happen to FINALLY understand the meaning of pinching a penny 'til it screams.

Ever since the silly Dutch guy became unemployed in early 2008, we gradually resorted back into the 'poor phase' we had to live with while in Holland many moons ago.  Needless to say, what I thought I learned across the pond certainly didn't prepare me for having to go above and beyond what I was used to during this recession.  Even though I thought I was pretty good at pinching pennies, one of the things I began to realize was how much food and money I was wasting, which is foolish whether rich, middle class or poor:
  • Buying items only to end up throwing them away due to spoilage.
  • Stocking up on certain items thinking I'd find a use for them and then, after 3-4 years, never using them at all and need to throw it away (those cans of coconut milk and the jar of tequila soaked green olives in the jar certainly need to be pitched but, I hold onto them like gold).
  • Bulk up on items since they were on sale or priced cheaply and let them sit on the shelves until the opportunity comes to raid the pantry for items to donate to the postal carriers during 'Stamp Out Hunger'.  I wasn't using it so, why not give it to someone who could REALLY use it
  • Eating out 5 times a week because I was too tired to cook.
  • Not brown bagging lunches for work and using the vending machines for snacks and drinks during breaks.

I'm not the most diligent in frugality by any means but, I'm certainly trying to learn along the way.  It's only a matter of time before I'll feel I've accomplished my ideal of frugality and get back on the 'back to basics' bandwagon.

I was curious about my fellow poor brethren among us here in Aurora so, I began to look things up online.  One of the many things I learned while researching the poor in Aurora is that compared to the Missouri state average, it shows the median household income in Aurora to be below state average.  The breakdown of poor married-couple families by work experience is as shown:

  • Both didn't work (51%)
  • One full-time, other didn't work (16%)
  • Both worked part-time (14%)
  • One part-time, other didn't work (14%)
  • One full-time, other part-time (5%)
  • Both worked full-time (0%)
Wouldn't you know we'd be second on that list.  And even though silly Dutch guy was working at a video store, his hours are now null and void.  Zip.  Nada.  Unfortunately, his employers have filed for bankruptcy at this time.  So, while he's looking around for yet another job, we're back to square one:  I'm, yet again, the only bread winner in the family.


There's a lesson to be learned in all this and now, I'm open to learning something good in this situation instead of getting myself in a depressed funk.  I only like my funk to be musical, not emotional!

So now, after all that .. here is my subject:

B & P Discount Grocery!

B & P is a 'dented can' store which is located on the corner of
W. Olive St. and S. Washington Ave. in beautiful downtown Aurora.

The silly Dutch guy got his first job working here when he arrived in America 4 years ago.  He loved his job but, hours were few and far between so, he sought out greener pastures.  There are days when I wish he was still working here because we got a sweet employee discount.  I love this store because sometimes you can find things you normally wouldn't find in our small town.. In fact, I once found a box of Droste cocoa, Douwe Egberts coffee and a package of speculaas and thought I was in Dutch heaven!

I have a few friends who frequent here and even let me know their finds just in case I want to go and see if there are any left for me to pick up.  I have to refrain lots of times for this is the one place I will go overboard on my 'interesting' finds.  I have to be a good girl, and that's certainly hard for me!

So, on our most recent excursion, we found lots of goodies (it figures) and I found the one thing I've been craving to make at home for some time now .. cupcakes!

Just look at them price labels!
confetti cake mix - .79
can of reduced sugar frosting - .89
baking cups (in tres chic Halloween style) - 50 ct. for .29

This mix made 24 cupcakes for about $1.83 + tax.

Now, I could have made them from scratch but,
for this price, I felt like I deserved to be lazy just this once!

During their Christmas clearance sale, I purchased a
Christmas cupcake baking set at Wal*Mart which offered
3 6ct. aluminum cupcake containers with baking cups included.
Since I have my lovely halloween ones to use,
I'll still have plenty of Christmas cupcake baking cups
around for years to come ..
'cause that's just how often I make cupcakes at
Maninteld Manor.  I'm determined to get them used up though,
you just watch!

I bought these nonpareils at B & P probably
about 5 years ago, still in the package,
still with the safety film intact.
They were .79 when they were purchased ..
and I hardly used any of them during the making
of these fun and fabulous cupcakes.

Oh my gooooodnesssss!
Who cares if the paper cups are halloweenish?
They just get pulled off and thrown away around here,
I'm not impressing anyone important!

Well, perhaps this little fella ..

.. and this sweet faced boy over here ..

So, thank you B & P, for giving me 24 cupcakes of pleasure for under $2 .. you certainly made my day!  I really should be frequenting you more often during these trying times ..

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The silly Dutch guy cooks?!?!?

Now don't be too shocked, the man actually does some things in the kitchen!  9 times out of 10, I'm the cook in the family.  He's quite content on me making the majority of our meals but, every once in a while, he gets a wild hair .. and comes up with something great.
You see, Richard and his uncle Leo would have these movie marathons at home many moons ago during the VHS era.  Since they would usually get the munchies late at night, they used to gather up all sorts of edible items from the fridge and cupboards and throw them together to see if they could actually produce something edible.  In the Netherlands, this is usually referred to as kneuter koken, in which, kneuteren can easily be translated into nothing else but 'messing stuff up'.

So, one night after I came home from a long, hard day at work, I found Richard busy making this dish.  My jaw dropped immediately and I asked him what he was doing and he told me, 'It's none of your business' so, I had to wait it out.  Needless to say, I was a bit skeptic about the dish once he produced it.  He sat me on the couch (we don't own a dining table and chairs anymore), brought me this big full pan of food and told me we were going to eat out of it.  He got comfortable on the other end of the couch and with the pan between us, we dug in.

I couldn't believe it .. it actually worked out!  It was so tasty, I didn't want it to end!  Needless to say, this dish has cropped up many times in the last few months and will continue to do so ..

Here's all your ingredients ..

Spray your pan good ..

We just happen to love instant mashed potatoes but,
you can make your own from scratch.
I make ours with powdered milk and
we can't tell a difference in taste ..

See?  Looks milky, right?
If using instant, just follow the instructions on the box
to make at least 2 cups mashed potatoes.

This is what silly Dutch guy loves to use,
we find it on sale and stock up ..

Pour contents into your greased baking dish ..

Dice up your onion either fine or chunky,
whichever you prefer ..

Put on top of chili ..

Dice up your tomato ..

Put on top of onion ..

Smooth out your mashed potatoes to make a layer ..

Sprinkle with shredded colby jack ..

Don't forget the bread crumbs ..
it'll make it nice and crunchy on top ..

And after it's baked, gaze at the wonder you have made ..

It's messy but, DELICIOUS!  Dig right in ..

You'd think we didn't feed him with that pitiful look on his face .. 

Yeah, we can't resist ..
we wait until it's cooled down enough and then ....

'Yay, we get samples!'

One of the best dishwashers in this house ..
and don't worry, we 'rewash' them!

Kneuter Chili

1 19 oz.can of chili
1 small onion, diced
1 roma tomato, diced
2 c. instant mashed potatoes
2 c. colby jack cheese, shredded
1 handful bread crumbs

In a greased 8 x 8 baking dish, layer in the order of ingredients listed above.  Put into a 400F oven and cook for 25-30 minutes until cheese is melted and a crust has appeared on top.

And, as his Uncle Leo would say, 'We sure can't cook but, we surely can throw a lot of stuff together and make it tasty.'
Related Posts with Thumbnails