Monday, November 15, 2010

Can I brag a little? I am so proud of my guest room

It took 5 years to get this far. And with the endless window problems, it seemed it would never get finished. I wanted one room, just ONE ROOM, to be finished. Well, as finished as it can get. I'm a woman after all. I may change my mind (several times)!

So here is it, the transformation! Everything was gotten for cheap except the bedroom set, which is really nice quality from Walter E. Smithe. In fact, I like it so much I think I should have gotten it for my master bedroom! The bedding set is from Walmart, the white matlesse is old and from Lands End. The lamps are from Walmart and the shades are from Target (I have white and red, can't decide!). The rt on the wall are from Kohls on clearance. The curtains are from Target, on sale, for $17 per panel. The iron scroll over the bed is from Hobby Lobby (50% off). All in all, I tried to keep to a budget on this one.

The pink room.

The inspiration room. Furniture by Walter E Smithe.

The finished product (well, still working on the curtains)

Getting rings for the curtains.

Friday, November 12, 2010

GDA: Recharger station for Wii for $5 (plus $5 shipping)

This is going to be a YMMV kind of deal, but my husband just picked up two sets of these for Christmas presents. Kids love the Wii. 

From the website:

Nintendo Wii Dual Remote Charging Station with 2 Hi-Capacity Rechargeable Batteries - Recharge 2 Wii Remotes Simultaneously!

You’re in the middle of an awesome game, tension high, adrenaline pumping, and then… Warning: Low Battery!
Don't let the fun stop due to lack of battery power! With this Wii Dual Remote Charging Station, you’ll have everything you need for easy, automatic Wii remote charging and storage. In addition, FREE Rechargeable Batteries are included with this Dual Charging Station. The batteries can charge on the stand without your Wii Remote, allowing for longer game-play. The two battery packs install quickly and provide more than 16 hours of playtime with one single charge. Built into the charging dock are multi-colored LEDs which indicate charging status. The station’s design mirrors the Wii’s clean white aesthetic and will match your console perfectly.
Wii Remote not included
Features Include:
  • Charge two (2) Wii remotes at the same time
  • Slim and portable design
  • High quality, extra-durable 2-hours fully charged and more than 16 hours play time
  • Connection to the Wii's USB port provides the voltage necessary for charging.
  • Input: 5V
  • Output: DC 2.8v-3.0V
  • Charger Stand
  • Two (2) Rechargeable Battery Packs
  • USB power cord
Condition: Brand New
Warranty: 1 Year
Packaging: Retail
Manufacturer: Sakar
Model: WiiDOCK2X

Review: Wanchai Ferry Orange Chicken. I'd give it a B

You get a packet of orange sauce, about a cup of uncooked rice, a packet of seasonings and 4-5 red peppers

I promised I would report back on my box of Wanchai Ferry that I got from My BlogSpark a few weeks ago. The other night I saw it sitting on my pantry shelf and decided to go for it.

Before you get all excited, I'll remind you that this is Chinese food in a box. Expectations were pretty low to begin with.

  • A pouch or orange sauce
  • A pouch of dried red peppers
  • A pouch of rice
  • A pouch of seasonings and corn starch

You provide:
  • Chopped raw chicken breast
  • Optional veggies like broccoli or green peppers. I went with broccoli.

There are a fair number of steps in the Wanchai process, so you need to pay attention. The labeling of the instructions I didn't find super easy to follow, but that could've been me. A couple of tips:

  • Make your own rice. The portion of rice is STINGY. The expectation that this one pouch will make 5 servings was obviously derived from a planet where 1 tablespoon of rice constitutes a serving.
  • This makes TONS of sauce. If you don't make enough rice, you will have some sort of orange chicken soup on your plate
  • Ignore the directions where it says you can use a zip lock bag to coat the chicken. I found the chicken and coating mix stuck all over the inside of the bag. A bowl would have been better, or make sure you really, REALLY pat your chicken dry
  • We ixnayed the red peppers after reading the warning they were "VERY HOT."

Overall: B
  • The product had good flavor, but it was a little overpowering.
  • The kids pronounced it as OK
  • My husband would not recommend ever buying it again, however. I think the lack of rice it came with was a big turnoff. I should have realized this ahead of time but didn't.
  • Paired with another side item, like egg rolls or fried rangoons and enough rice, it is a decent substitute for takeout.
  • At nearly $5 a box, I'd suggest they get rid of the rice altogether and just market the sauce and powder mix on their own for about $2. I can get a huge portion of real Chinese takeout from the local place for $5-$6.

Monday, November 8, 2010

London Broil marinade and cooking steaks that you can chew. Really.

No this isn't MY dinner plate but I did make homemade mashed potatoes!
I make chewy steaks. I admit it. I am terrible at it. It isn't even the method of cooking (broil or grill), it's the selection of the right meat and the right seasonings. I'd rather pay $30 for a steak out than $8 for one at home that no one can chew.

Friends have tried to help me. Like any normal American, I reached out to my 200 "best" friends on Facebook for their advice. The most popular tip had to do with using lots of kosher salt to age the steak and tenderize it.  I tried the "salt it until it begs for water" technique (seen here) last week. This was one of those "we swear this will work" and "take it from me this is GUARANTEED." 


The results were our tongues stuck to the roof of our mouth from the salt taste. I don't care how many times you rinse and pat dry a steak, letting it sit for an hour with that much kosher salt on it is going to leech salt into the meat. My steaks did not turn from super market to "Gucci." Gucci does not make steaks, as far as I know, but they make a lot of leather goods. I'm just sayin'.

So last night I tried something new. I bought London broil and used this marinade from my SIL because I really liked how hers turned out.

Then learned my SIL hadn't used it on London Broil at all, but flank steak. Is this important? I didn't know. I called my mom.

Mom kindly told me she'd not made a London Broil in 30 years and the last one was so tough she threw it out. Thanks mom!

What the heck, I tried it anyway.
3/4 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
3 scallions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
18 oz lean London Broil

Marinade steak at least 2 hours.

I substituted green onions and let it sit for 4 hours. (I also stabbed it 800 times with a fork, kneaded it like bread and banged on it a fair bit with a meat tenderizer). Sufficiently tortured, I broiled it until rare on high under an electric broiler and then sliced it on an angle, against the grain, PAPER THIN. It didn't turn out really rare despite the thermometer. I'd say it was more medium rare, but I didn't want to over cook it.
And it was good. No it, was REALLY GOOD. And you could CHEW it.  All of us. Even the kids!

You should make this.

Take it from me this is GUARANTEED....

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's the house calling to say pick up some milk

Three service calls later, the guys from the generator company declared the generator is actually fixed. And by fixed I mean that it no longer sounds like a snow blower with too much choke when it attempts (and fails) its weekly test run. This bad boy does a trial every single week for 12 minutes just to make sure everything is working accordingly. It sounds a bit like a 1976 VW beetle stuck in neutral with your pedal to the floor. Don't you want to be my neighbor at 11am every Saturday morning??

In an attempt to rival communications at NASA, my husband the engineer has now integrated this thing into the "network" so that if it doesn't work, it will send us a text message telling us what's wrong. For those playing the "what will the house text message us next" home game, that makes a total of 9 items that could potentially alert us at a moment's notice (smoke alarm, heat alarm, hot tub alarm, back up sump pump alarm, burglar alarm, power failure alarm, generator start alarm and generator failure alarm). I'm sure there are other alarms I'm forgetting, but you get the point. Some women are football widows. I'm a telecom widow. If you can write code for it, it will be done.

You know, of course, that now that we've spent all this time, money and effort to install this thing the neighborhood is guaranteed to never, EVER lose power again....

...perhaps you would like to be my neighbor after all!

And the winner is TattGiff!!

Congratulations TattGiff!

Your Wanchai Ferry and Macaroni Grill dinner kits and $25 Visa gift card are on their way from My Blog Spark.

Christmas trip booked

I am getting a late start admittedly. Amidst major house renovations, things like car rentals, hotel bookings and oh, where I put my mind, get lost in the shuffle. We typically head to Florida during the holidays, and try to squeeze in a trip to Disney World with the kids. The Good Marie books all of these things in September. The Frazzled Marie books them over lunch at work, deciding on hotels based on Trip Advisor, Google Maps, and whoever has the fastest loading web page. It's been that kind of vacation planning.

We typically stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge because the kids like the animals. There are LOTS of them there. Go figure. This year I wanted to do something different, and had my heart set on Wilderness Lodge. I tried to book via Dreams Unlimited, a Disney discounter we've used in the past, but the attendant told me the resort was sold out. We were closed out of the inn. (As the Christian Education Elder for our church I can't ignore the Biblical reference here, though I know full well Mary and Joseph would not have paid that much per night.)

I went instead over to Expedia and lo and behold, there WERE rooms to be had a Wilderness Lodge, and with upgraded views, and at 40% off. My Visa went on FIRE.

So in mid December, the kids and in laws and I will be spending a few days in Disney Magic at the Wilderness Lodge:

I got the courtyard view thank you very much Expedia.

With these pretty Christmas decorations in the lobby:

Surrounded by North Woods ambiance:

Yes my North Woods ambiance includes a pool. A heated pool.

And totem poles:

See, it will be just like taking a Christmas vacation to Canada. Except actually GOING to Canada would have been cheaper!

Sweepstakes winner to be drawn at 7pm CST

Thanks everyone for stopping by. This has been a fun contest and you've all been very generous with your comments.

I'll draw one lucky winner tonight at 7pm CST. Until then, enter as many times as you like. I'll moderate and post comments throughout the day.



Related Posts with Thumbnails