Sunday, June 30, 2013

Where did I go!?

I realized that I had not posted anything in a while, but hadn't realized that it had been QUITE so long! Although, the last time I posted coincided time wise with when I went from working 12 hours a week to full time, so it shouldn't surprise me. 

I used to work for a large corporate office of a massive retail chain. My last position with that company was as a project manager for a huge project.  I loved what I was doing, I did it well. Prior to that I was in system support for that company and through my adult career I held the same position for a couple other large companies. 
I tried to surround myself with happiness at work

In December of 2010 I found myself sitting at my desk crying and realized "No one is financially dependent on me anymore, why am I still doing a job I never wanted??"  When I went to college right out of high school (Actually, I was still in high school when I went to college overlapping my senior year of college and my freshmen year of high school) I was a biology major, theater minor.. and I then spent the next 20 years of my life sitting in front of a computer. I had stayed in that position through horrible bosses, 2 hour commutes, and other unhappy situations because I was a single mother and needed to keep a roof over my kids head. That was no longer the case.... I realized I could be free!

So, (keep in mind the economy at the time and you will realize how horrible my work situation was.. actually like I said, I liked what I did... just NOT for who I was doing it for) I quit my job, gave up my apartment and car..... and went and hiked the Appalachian Trail obviously. 

Long distance hiking is something I honestly believe everyone should do at least once in their life. It doesn't have to be a massive distance... just be out in the woods.... with your thoughts.. and everything you need on your back for oh.. a long weekend. It puts everything in perspective. You realize the important things in life. Where is the next water source, and is it going to rain. Not who said what to whom, and what someone was wearing, and if a report might be a day late.... much less that you are stuck in commuter hell traffic and  might be 3 minutes late to work even though you worked 50 hours already that week.  

After hiking the Trail (I made it 850 miles before deciding to come home) my life was extremely different. I paired my life down to the essentials. I moved back into an apartment in my mother's house and worked at a friend's restaurant. My only bills were my cell phone and helping my mother with the electric. I then worked part time at a small tax office for tax season. One of the perks there was that they did my tax return. Lo and behold when you used to have a pretty high tax bracket and only worked 1/4 of the year.... you get back a LOT in taxes! I took the rest of the year off and just did a few things here and there to make some pocket money. This lasted through the summer and into the fall. Although, my Awesome August Adventure (I'm sure I will have to blog that one now) pretty much took up the bulk of my money reserves and I decided it was time to go back and get a job. 

I ended up finding a part time position as a receptionist at an outpatient mental health clinic. Nothing I thought I would ever do. I started out working 12 hours a week and am now full time. I love it. I love the people I work with. I love the work I do. I love the people I deal with. And most of all, I love who I work for. I can honestly say I am friends with everyone I work with. I don't go a week without thinking to myself  "I love my job!"  I make a fraction of my previous income, but my stress is even smaller than that!  

Anyway, that is where my time has been going. I have been documenting adventures over the past 6 months with the intention of blogging them, so hopefully I can catch up! 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Let's play "Chopped!"

I always hit the discount sections of the supermarket. My favorite is the discount produce rack. My market always (usually...) has a great supply of fruits and veggies that might not be "pretty" enough to be displayed on the shelf, or might need to be eaten in the next couple days. Between my dehydrator, juicer, canning, and soups, I have no problem taking many pounds of peppers, apples, mushrooms, etc off their hands at a great price! (usually they have perfect apples on there for $0.49/lb! Even organic apples!)

Anyway, my market also has a discount dairy shelf, bakery, grocery, deli and even meats.  I have decided lately, that instead of thinking to myself... "Hmmm, I think I will make this particular thing for dinner."   I allow the discount racks to dictate my ingredients for what I am going to make. Today was a great windfall!  Not a lot of produce (that makes me sad as I was hoping to resupply my dried apples) but there was hamburger for $1.49 lb! I had also found a dozen organic eggs for $1.50 and a large can of tomatoes for 50 cents. This of course made me think.. " I do believe I will be making a meatloaf for dinner!" I had also seen breadcrumbs on the rack, but on second check, it was cheaper to buy a discount loaf of italian bread for $1 and then I could make my own breadcrumbs. 

I got home and sliced the Italian bread, put it all onto cookie sheets in a single layer in a 300° for 15 minutes, then turning and giving it another 15 minutes. Then I tossed them into my food processor and pulsed them down into bread crumbs!

I decided to go with this recipe for meatloaf. It looks interesting. I will update with reviews from myself and the man. 

For dessert, I am going to make strawberry shortcake! My boyfriend had just said last night that strawberry shortcake was one of his favorites, but with the strawberry filling type strawberries instead of fresh. There happened to also be cans of strawberry pie filling on the discount rack!  He was adamant that it be with the biscuit type shortcake instead of the sponge cake type cake. So, I decided I will make my biscuit recipe I have had made since I was a teenager. 

Sky~High Biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or just another cup of white)
  • 4½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup COLD butter
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1 cup milk (I used vanilla almond milk)

In a bowl combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and cream of tartar. 
Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
Add egg and milk, stirring quickly and briefly. Knead lightly on a floured board. 
Roll or pat gently to 1-inch thickness. Cut into 1-2 inch biscuits. Place in a greased 10 inch iron skillet or 9 inch square pan. For crusty biscuits, separate on a cookie sheet. Brush the top of the biscuits with milk.
Bake at 450° for 12 to 15 minutes. 

Friday, January 4, 2013


Last week I found this pasta machine in a thrift store for $9.99. I HAD to get it since it is normally sold for about $90. Today was pasta day!  

I had was out of white flour and so I used whole wheat and spelt. I made a ring of 2 1/2 cups of whole wheat and 1 cup of spelt. Then broke 4 eggs into the well and sprinkled about a teaspoon of salt on it. Mixed up the eggs in the well slowly incorporating the flour until I was able to make it into a dough ball. I kneaded the ball for about 5 minutes, trying to make sure not to let it get too tough.  I had a lot of flour left (and made another couple of 1 egg batches).  I then flattened it out with a roller (flouring it as needed ) and fed it through the pasta maker. I cooked some right away for about 4 minutes in boiling water. It worked! I was amazed! And now I have a whole bunch of pasta made up and drying. I am going to try a gluten free batch next :)