Well we are doing it - we are selling our beloved carriage house and the front house too (because they can't be split and belong together). Check out my journey of renovations on this blog. It all starts with the before photos, during photos, and finally After-part 1 and After-part 2! An adventure I will always be grateful for. Let's see where the next adventure is. . .stay tuned! Here's the realtors link .
 
 
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Scratch Cooking Workshop at Asa Ransom House- October 13th

Scratch cooking can be so easy and rewarding with the right recipes and guidance. Go back to basics and learn how to cook from scratch – saving money and most importantly – feed yourself and your family with non processed foods.

In this daylong workshop you will learn the staples of scratch cooking from breakfast to late night snack. This includes fresh baked bread, grandma’s macaroni & cheese, chicken noodle soup, stovetop popcorn, brownie sundaes and more. We will also sample all of our finished products!  Join us in the kitchen of this nationally acclaimed Inn for this fun and delicious day of cooking!

Your instructor – Tina Tompkins Ames – Owner/lifestyle blogger of www.CourageousChick.com and healing art company Artsy Inspirations (www.artsyinspirations.com). Tina teaches many classes throughout NY State on food, gardening and arts /crafts.

Date – Monday, October 13th, 10am-3pm,

Where – Asa Ransom House Inn & Restaurant
10529 Main Street
Clarence, New York (NY) 14031

Cost - $39.95 prepaid (by 9/13) $49.95(9/14 and after) includes all supplies, handouts and refreshments. Call Asa Ransom House at 716-759-2315 to reserve your spot.  For questions email your instructor at ttames@roadrunner.com . Class size is limited to 15 – so don’t delay!

 Cancellation fee $10


 
 
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This is from last year . . .but feelings are the same :)
All I want is simple from my two sons . . . no fancy dinners or presents needed . . .  

Be one of the kind people in the world . . .give your seat up for the elderly man on the subway,  smile at the baby at the grocery checkpoint, hold the door for the person right behind you coming out of the bank, shovel the sidewalk for the elderly women next door, pet the dog when you walk by.  

Don’t be afraid of love. Don’t chase it down – but accept it when it finds you.  There is nothing like it – even if you get hurt – it’s worth it. 

Honor the earth.  Do your part to keep it healthier for the next generation.  Recycle, save water, plant a garden – but most of all – appreciate that beautiful flower and intricate snowflake and see that things like that don’t happen on their own . . And there is a higher power. 

Do what you enjoy and have a passion for – not what makes the most money.  Follow the scenario “If money wasn’t an option- what would I do.”  Believe me – it is worth it – and the money does come. 

Give to others – whether it is time, food, a room or whatever you can at the time that does not jeopardize your situation. Give what you can – it comes back to you. But – give unconditionally – with no expectations. That’s how it works – and your gift back will be a surprise when you need it. 

Take time to do nothing. Remember when you said “I’m bored” when you were little – and I said "good" . . . that’s what I mean. Take the time for your mind to rest and rejuvenate.  

Be responsible for your actions.  If you say something mean – apologize, buy something – pay for it, make a mess – clean it up 

That’s all I want for Mother’s Day – but from what I see so far – I already have it!

 
 
 
 
Eating well is hard . . . and the rules keep changing on the news. Something that was good for you this week is now bad and vice versa.  I try to block the noise of the media and eat what I enjoy and, most importantly, doesn’t make me feel like crap after eating it. I am going to give you the details on what I buy every week in our household. I spend $5 a day for myself, my husband and my 11 year old Jack Russell mix(I make her food). More details on my recipes can be found throughout this blog and more to come. The most important advice I can give is to start scratch cooking. It only takes a minute more and it has less chemicals and additives. For example - Dried rice from a bag actually looks like rice compared to Minute rice. Less processing, less expensive . . . and only takes a few minutes to put a pot on the stove to last all week (freezes well too). OK – getting off on a tangent – but back to basics. I shop at Aldis and Wegmans.  We have a coffee addiction in our house – so the cost for coffee/creamer is a big part of it (plus –my sons visiting drink the coffee on a daily basis too). What can I say – it is our only vice (well maybe cheese too). Another staple – we  have to have chicken parmesan with pasta (homemade sauce) on Friday night . . . it is a tradition! That is why I say I am eating well and grateful for it! I do have an organic garden that helps – but you don’t have to for this budget. When I have the veggies coming in the summer – I save even more on the groceries. As far as take out is concerned - we do eat it on Saturdays and spend $20. Hey - we are human after all and need some greasy goodness!

Here is the weekly breakdown: $35 a week- food only

 Aldis -$25

Every week items– $13

  •                 Half & Half -2
  •                 Fresh fruit- 1
  •                 Breads-English Muffins/rolls - 1
  •                 Breakfast-Muffins /breakfast bars-2
  •                 Veggies-2
  •                 Meat- 5

Every other week items–$5

  •                 Mozzarella Cheese-3.50
  •                 Parmesan / Cheddar Cheese – 2.50
  •                 Sugar – 1.50
  •                 Butter -2.50

Once a month items - $5

  • Frozen Chicken Breast-fried 5
  • Canned items/dressings -3
  • Baking supplies- Flour, pumpkin, spices, cocoa, bouillon, etc-2
  • Peanut Butter- 2
  • Dried rice. Beans, mash pot.-1
  • Drinks – milk, drink mixes-3
  • Oils – Olive/ Vegetable Oil-2
  • Cereals/Cream of wheat, oats -2

Every week misc. & sales- $2

Wegmans- $10

  • Wegmans French Roast Coffee – 33 oz – 5.99
  • Wegmans Pasta -.69
  • Wegmans Eggs – 1.50
  • Misc-$1.80- coffee filters, coupon items

 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
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OK - Here in Western New York and much of the country - it has been a long winter.  Today the wind chill is -30 degrees. . .way too cold and dangerous to go to the store for baking supplies-so it is time to improvise.  I had some frozen berries and pancake mix - so why not a Berry Cobbler.  I added a little sugar to the berries and put in the pie plate.  Then I mixed(in a separate bowl) the pancake mix with some milk and cinnamon until it was a thicker version of pancakes. You can add an egg also if you want. I spread on top of the berries and baked at 350 for about 20-25 minutes.  I topped with a dusting of confectioners sugar. YUM! Try to use what you have and be  little creative. You can google what ingredients you have and see options online too. Make the best of the day in bad weather!

 
 
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Another wonderful guest post by Sarah Cozzemera!

Thin and Crispy White Pizza


 This crunchy crowd-pleaser is sure to be a big hit at the dinner table. Single serving, make-your-own pizzas are a great way to collaborate on a meal that everyone can enjoy in their own unique way. This recipe serves 4 people, pair down or double up as needed.
Plan anywhere from 20-40 minutes to prep, but don't rush it if you have the time because prepping for this meal is half the fun. It is a great opportunity to spend some quality time in the kitchen creating and working together. For many more quick, easy, healthy meal options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacking check out Epicurean Eats on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EpicureanEats 

Ingredients:

4 six or ten inch whole wheat soft tortillas

1 sm jar of minced garlic

1 sm jar of pesto

1 sm bottle of extra virgin olive oil

1.5 lbs of cut and cooked steak

1 med crown of chopped broccoli

1 med white or red onion thinly sliced

2 Hungarian hot peppers thinly sliced

Several cups of your favorite cheeses, I like to use a mix of: feta, blue cheese crumbles, asiago, and mozzarella

Instructions:

Cover baking sheets with parchment paper

Preheat oven to 400°

Place one whole wheat soft tortilla shell per pizza on the baking sheets

Invite friends and family to put their own white sauce and toppings on

Start with 1 tsp of minced garlic, 1 tsp of pesto, and a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Combine and spread this white sauce evenly on the pizza, leaving 1/4 from the edge for the crust

Evenly distribute cooked steak pieces around the tortilla shell

Evenly distribute chopped broccoli, onion slices, and pepper slices

Lightly press these toppings into the crust

Sprinkle a total of 1/4 cup (or less) of your favorite cheese or combine several cheeses together for a flavorful blend

Place in oven and bake for 12-18 minutes, checking periodically; the crust will brown and ruffle at the edge when crispy

Use a pizza cutter to slice in desired fashion

Allergy Warnings/ Dietary Restrictions: This dish contains gluten, dairy, and meat. Nut free.

Notes: There are an almost unlimited number of ways to make this crispy white pizza to suit individual tastes and dietary restrictions. Be sure to cook all ingredients that require a certain internal temperature for safe consumption; ie: meat and eggs. Additionally, raw ingredients -- carrots, baby spinach or other leafy greens, olives, etc could be added on top of a pizza when it comes out of the oven. Fruit and nuts could be an interesting addition/adaption to this dish, or some variety of breakfast pizza -- the possibilities are literally endless. With dinner, I would suggest pairing the pizza described in the instructions with a nice glass of (local, if available) Pinot Noir or Malbec. There are four different types of pizzas pictured with this recipe -- we invited friends over for dinner and turned it into a make-your-own pizza party; which was a big hit! Also, this recipe is great in quantity, because you can trade slices and sample each other's creations.