Homemade Sushi

Again my sister in law braved the strange foods and helped me get over my fears of sushi making too.
We gathered the supplies: nori (seaweed) wrappers, sushi rice, sushi vinegar and spices, and several sushi fillings.

image

I will admit that the firsf three rolls I made I refused to take a pictures of. They were that bad.
Which brings us to common mistakes #1: overfilling nori with rice and other fillings. Results include not enough to wrap and seal roll and/or ingredients busting out the ends.

image

After getting a good tight roll, I discoverd common mistake #2: Learning a gentle hand and cutting with a sharp knife. This is what ruins most of my rolls. I squeezed the rolls too hard or the knife would mash instead of cut.

image

I tried making a rice on the outside roll. They were extremely difficult for me because it was harder to slice into the nori after the knife got sticky from the rice.

image

By the end of the evening I had eaten a lot of mistakes and had some yummy lumpy rolls to eat.
Recently, I tried making sushi for a lunch my house. Kit can be odd about non-steak-&-taters meals so I was worried at first. He loved it!

image

These are traditional sushi rolls with raw fish. I had to consider my budget when making this lunch. The fillings for my sushi were canned flakey crab and cream cheese. I took canned tiny shrimp and marinated them in lime juice, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper. The result was a spicy shrimp roll. The ginger was perfecto.

Which leads me to my final sushi making tip and the best advice we heard from the dozens of youtube videos we watched. Give yourself a break. The best way to make good sushi is keep trying. It proves itself too, my second attempt at making sushi for Kit and me was a huge sucess. I had to eater fewer dud rolls than the first time.
Can’t wait to try different ingredients and give it another whirl.

Have you ever tried sushi making at home?
Have any tried and true tips you want to share?

Keeping Clean

Or:
Some sweet cleaning pins I discovered
and can’t imagine Life without them now

People are always saying to me, “Kat, how do you manage it all? Keeping such a spotless house and a cool head.”

That is a complete lie. No one has ever said that to me. In fact, one friend said, “this is the cleanest I’ve ever seen your house!” Once when he came to visit. And he was actually paying me a compliment.

I do not want a Martha Stewart house by any means. I love homes that are lived in by real people. However, there is a certain level of organization that I believe my home lacks.

I have discovered a few Pinterest links that have served me well. I wish to share these with my readers so you can have the same amount of control over one miniscule aspect of your life. These aren’t life hacks. Life isn’t easy and espcially when it comes to keeping a home.

1. Fan Blade Dusting

I can’t imagine returning to Plato’s Cave again. This one is amazing. It is stupid how easy this makes dusting fan blades. Take a pillowcase and pull it over a single fan blade. Add a bit of pressure to the top and bottom of the blade as you pull the pillowcase off.
You won’t get a face full of dust and you won’t sneeze a hundred times. If you missed a spot on the fan blade just recover it with the pillowcase and do it again. Once all the fan blades have been dusted, throw the pillowcase directly into the washer.
Thank you, Apartment Therapy! Source

2. (Sorta) Homemade Fabric Softener

Instead of tossing/recycling the old fabric softener bottle keep it around and refill it. Combine 6 cups water, 3 cups white vinegar and 2 cups hair conditioner. The original poster said to stir not shake to avoid suds. I shook and had no issues.
Thank you, Jillee @ One Good Thing! Source.

3. Liquid Concentrated Laundry Detergent

I tried making a powder laundry detergent but (I assume) because my washer is HE it doesn’t use as much water and the powder ended up clumping. So I took the powder that I had painstakingly put together, added it to water with a bit of dawn soap and boom. Perfection.
Part one includes grating a Fels Naptha bar (optional), Borax, OxyClean washing powder and baking soda. Part two, mix 1 1/2 cups of mixed powder, half cup of dawn dish liquid and warm/hot water shaking as you fill up the jug to ensure all the soap has dissolved.
Thank you, Jillee @ OGT! Source & Source.

4. Clean Front Load Washing Machine

This absolutely needs to be done. We clean our washer about once every two months or so. We should really do it more because after cleaning we can smell a significant difference in the quality of the clean clothes. Run first hot water cycle with empty washer and  2 cups vinegar in the detergent slot. Run second hot water cycle with 2 cups bleach. Run third water cycle with just plain water. Remove the soap dispensers and soak/wash them in the sink. Take a cloth damped with very diluted bleach water and wipe down the rubber gaskets around the door. The last steps sound tedious compared to the press-button cleaning process. I promise it is all worth it.
Thank you, Jillee @ OGT! Source.

5. Homemade Body Wash

There are tons of recipes out there for grate and heat body wash. gratedbarliquidsoapAny old Google search will reveal tons with slight differences. I honestly don’t have all the answers. I feel like each brand of soap will give slightly different results. However I will share my best tips for making it.
Combine 3 tablespoons of glycerine, 6 cups of water and 3 bars of soap (grated) in huge cook pot. Heat on medium to melt soap flakes. Avoid boiling! Burnt soap is a bad, bad thing. Once the soap bits are completely melted turn off the stove and allow the soapy water to sit overnight. Next day use a hand mixer to break things up. Add more water if you feel that the mixture is too thick. Bottle and go.

6. Bathtub Scrub

For some reason I haven’t been able to hunt down the the proper recipe original pinner I copied the idea from. Many apologies to the person I took this idea from. Grab a spray bottle and mix together equal parts of dawn dish liquid and white vinegar. Spray this all over your disgusting shower and allow it to sit for 30 minutes to 4 hours depending on your free time. As a warning to sensitive people, the combo of these two makes for a strong smell. If you are sensitive you may open a window when you go to wipe down and rinse off the walls of the shower.

7. Organized Cupcake Liners

This is much like the first tip above. Very simple and it makes life just that much easier. Take all the random half cellophane masonjarcraftsblogcupcakelinerorganizationwrappers full of your mismatched  cupcake liners and stack them in a mason or bell jar. My only complaint about this is I usually want the V-day/Xmas/Halloween liners that I have put at the bottom of the stack. It looks pretty in the cabinets I think and you know we all secretly want beautiful cabinets.
Thank you, Mason Jar Crafts Blog! Source.

8. Cheaters Car Wash

This is a great in-between washes way of making your car a bit more presentable. Use Pledge or a similar off brand furniture polish. This cuts the nasty road grease. After you wipe away all the nasty get a fakeitfrugalpledgecarwashclean microfiber cloth or paper towels and buff the residue until you can see your face. I bought the cheap store brand version and it worked just as promise.
Thank you Fake-It Frugal! Source.

9. Denture Clean Water Bottle

This is another easy one to help avoid the soapy taste and nasty bacterial smell after filling up your reusable bottle. Grab two of the denture cleanser tablets and toss them into your bottle with warm water. Allow to soak before dumping and rinsing the bottle.
Thank you, Jenny @ Popsugar! Source.

10. Homemade Windex

Easy to mix up and works better than the store brand. You’ll a spray bottle, 1/8 cup white ammonia, 1/4 cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol and 1 drop of laundry detergent and warm water to fill the bottle up. This is great in the bathroom for good cleaning and doesn’t leave streaks on mirrors/windows.
Thank you, Fake-It Frugal! Source.

Spring Trip

image

In IL visiting the siblings. We have great plans for my weekend. Of course some of our plans involve a bit of wine.

Everytime I come to visit we try to hit a new winery. This time we visited Star View Vineyards. They have beautiful grounds surrounding their events/tasting building. We tasted five of their sweet wines which were all quite tasty. We left with souvenir glasses and a bottle of wine for later.

While shopping in town we got more scrapbooking supplies. Beth and I have decided that our distant descendents will likely be putting the final touches on our wedding scrapbooks long after our deaths.

We also stopped by the international grocery to grab a sushi mat. I hope you’re looking forward to see photos from the sushi rolling tonight. I expect a delicious train wreck.

image

After shopping we hung out at Rustle Hill Winery with a pitcher (or two) of their white sangria. Tom opted for a Gunslinger beer. After getting sufficiently spiffled we came home so Tom could catch up.

Beth and I slowed our boozing down with chocolate chip cheesecake dip, graham crackers and port. I made the sweet dessert dip earlier yesterday. It is so completely worth the 10 minutes it takes to put together. Want the recipe? Stay tuned.

image

Hope your week is going just as well. We’ll be hitting the Giant City State Park trails midmorning and picnicking in the woods.

And then how?

I was using this other job I hated as an excuse to not cook, clean or blog. I was depressed.
Then I quit.

I quit that lame job at the end of March. Why am I still spinning my wheels?

How do you, readers, make yourself go exercise, clean house, blog more or be a better human in general? My brain is an excuse machine.

I realize I should just do it. A million obligations–mostly social–pull me in different directions.

So, I ask again. How do you make yourself do something that you know you like? How do you get started?

-Kat

Walkabout The Snow Day

Snow DateDepending on your line of work (teachers) and your age (still in grade school) you will see a ton of snow days in Kentucky. I don’t get many snow days as I am not a teacher nor am I in school. Snow Days in the South are a big joke to people up North who get snow in feet not inches. Down here, it would be insane to send a standard yellow school bus down curvy country roads that haven’t seen salt trucks ever. We got several inches of snow and several inches of ice overnight and I got a snow day! Sometimes it is good to live on back roads. It took most of the day for the road crews in our area to get the main parkways and interstates clear. We’re still waiting for our main highway to be cleared today (day two).

On our snow day we made a big pot of chicken and dumplings and sipped on hot coffee through the morning.

Veggies in broth

This photo of the chicken stock and the onions, celery and carrots was too beautiful not to share. Isn’t food just BEAUTIFUL! You can tell why my weight loss is so slow going. Hah!

Chicken n' dumplings

I painted my nails blue while we watched tons of episodes of Bones, Leverage and Rules of Engagement. I also caught up on some reading–glorious, glorious reading.

messy blue

In the afternoon, I donned three shirts, two pants, a sweater, hat and insulated overalls. I hadn’t ventured out of the house much because I hate being cold, but given the proper preparation I love it! I romped in just about every snow drift on the farm to show how impressively deep the snow had gotten–Several feet.

I attempted to  throw a snowball at Kit but quickly realized it was much to powdery for any real fun. A snowman would have been out of the question.  However, I had a grand time romping in drifts, making a snow angel, spying tracks of and seeing some actual wildlife.
We brought the camera: 

driftone

One foot on top of snow and the other sunk to what I assume was the ground.

makesnowangel

I remember making dozens of snow angels as a kid until I got the perfect one. Then my brothers usually walked through it.

Drifttwo by fence

Sunken into a drift that built up by the neighbor’s fence row. My knee is below the snow line.

snow angel poseHad to pose by my not-so-perfect snow angel.

geeseonpond

We wanted to see the half frozen pond and had to stop in short to keep from scaring off the pair of moose enjoying the pond. Okay, moose is a weird inside joke and it is what we call Canadian geese. If I explained it you would just think I am more crazy and less funny.

sillysnowfaces

The obligatory Snow Day Selfie! I hope you guys got to stay home with your loved ones. And if you didn’t get to yesterday, then make a point to spend a day with the people who make you smile soon!