Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Recipe: Thanksgiving Potluck

Let's have a Thanksgiving Recipe Potluck!
If you e-mailed me a recipe, you are featured on R&W below.
**A big thanks to everyone who participated.**

First and foremost, Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving to everyone and their families.
...and now for the good part, the food...


Garlic Brussell Sprouts
Submitted by Jax from Raviolis & Waterworks.

(1) Pkg Brussell Sprouts
(6) Cloves of Garlic – Minced
(1) Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
(1) Tbsp Red Pepper Flakes

Bring a large pot of water to a rigorous boil.
Meanwhile, thoroughly clean the Brussell Sprouts.  Once cleaned and dried, cut them in halves.
The largest turn off from these yummy veggies is the consistency, cutting them in half helps.
Put the cut Brussell Sprouts in the water and boil for about 12-15 minutes.
The vegetable should turn to a very pretty light green color once it has been sufficiently boiled.
Strain and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil.
Sauté the garlic and the red pepper flakes in the olive oil until it is a light brown color.
Add the Brussell Sprouts, stirring them into the garlic mixture until they are well coated.
Sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve hot.
This is Mushy’s favorite.  In her words “yummy, yummy, yummy”.


Roasted Sliced Yams
Submitted by Linda from Woke Up Out of Bed

Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350*.
Coat a roasting pan with olive oil.
Slice the yams in 2” thick rounds.
Sprinkle the yam rounds with more olive oil, sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
You may also add any additional herbs you like.
Bake for 20 minutes.  Turn.  Bake for an additional 20 minutes.


Spiced Pecans
Submitted by Betsy from My Five Men

(2) cup pecan halves
(1/4) cup brown sugar
(1/4) cup melted butter
(4) tsp hot sauce, like Cholula
(1) tsp salt
(1/2) tsp pepper

Spray cookie sheet with oil.  Mix all ingredients and spread in a single layer on sheet.
Bake 350* for 12 minutes, stirring once half way through.
Coating will harden as it cools.  
These are mildly hot and spicy but nicely balanced with the brown sugar.  Very addictive!


What are your Thanksgiving meal Plans?
Gobble, Gobble.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Recipe: Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Let's have a Thanksgiving Recipe Potluck!
If you e-mail me a recipe, I'll feature you on R&W this coming Wednesday.
**Please try to submit your recipes by 5pm, Tuesday night.**


In honor of Turkey day, let's share some recipes that are sure to impress your host.
I'm all for desserts from the bakery...
My growing waistline can attest to that!
...but, let's be a little more impressive and bring something simple for the main course.

Typically, we go to my grandmother's house for Thanksgiving.
We are Sicilian, so you can imagine the feast she prepares.
It's like a little piece of Sicilian heaven, plus a turkey.
I can't wait for that lasagna!

In attempt to Americanize our meals for the American holiday, I'll bring a few traditional dishes.
I'll make homemade cranberry sauce, garlic brussel sprouts and corn bread.
I won't share the cornbread recipe since I cheat and use Jiff box mix.  Shhh, don't tell!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce
I like it chunky, but feel free to change the consistency to how you like!

12oz Fresh Cranberries
1/4Cup Orange Juice
1Cup Sugar
1Cup Water

Mix the water, orange juice, and the sugar together in a pot.  Bring to a boil.  Add the cranberries and stir.  Bring the mixture back to a boil and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat.  Remove the pot from the stove.  With a potato masher, mash the mixture together.  Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate over night.
Madre used to strain the sauce to get all the clumps out.

What are your simple holiday recipes?

Friday, November 21, 2014

TV: Prison Break

MushyFace and I have gotten into this awful habit.
The “habit” can be a topic for a whole other post, so please temporarily refrain from reprimanding me!
The baby girl will not sleep in her own bed unless she falls asleep in mine first.
After the princess falls asleep, MyMan will transport her like a ninja into the crib.
If we don’t do this ritual, she ends up crammed in my tiny bed a l l  n i g h t  l o n g.

In order for this ritual to happen, we will watch a few TV episodes until she FINALLY passes out.
We have already watched all of Dexter, Oz, Lost, and American Horror Story.
All of these shows were amazing with the exception of Oz.
Mushy loved Dexter!  She still dances when she hears the theme song!

The most recent show that we watched was Prison Break.

Prison Break was a great show.
…and, no, not just because of that hunky Wentworth Miller shown above…
It had the action and intensity that makes MyMan sit at the edge of his seat.
It also had the dramatic story line, mystery factors, and romance that keeps me intrigued.

**Some things mentioned here may been thought of as spoilers.**

The story is based around two brothers that were pretty much all each other ever had.
The older brother, Lincoln, was framed for a high-profile murder that he didn’t commit.
Since Lincoln couldn’t prove his innocence to anyone that mattered, he was sentenced to death.
His younger brother, Michael, could not live with that decision and decided to handle it himself.
You learn all of this fairly quickly, then the real JUICE begins.

Michael tattooed a map of the prison his brother was incarcerated in on his entire body.
…and, omg, was that yummy to see on his bare skin…
He then planned a master escape from beginning to end in order to save his brother.
An armed bank robbery and a confession later, Michael and Lincoln's adventure will begin.

They meet several fun characters along the way that you will grow to love.
Every twist and turn brings forth an event you can never predict.
I mean, they may have to break out of more than one prison.  Shh, I didn't tell you that!

Jax Rating

I give this show a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
It lost a star because the 3rd season wasn't up to par with the rest, but it was still enjoyable.

Have you ever or will you ever see Prison Break? What's your review?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

List: How to live on a budget.

Are you all ready to realize Jax is a freak?  No, not that kind of freak...
Hi.  My name is Jax and I'm living on a budget.
Being on a budget is a common thing, but it has turned into an obsession for me.
What, you don't think that makes me a freak?  Keep reading...

Sunday, I go through the Target Ad and pick the "good deals" that apply to me.
Wednesday, I fill in an Excel spreadsheet with what I'm buying from Target and its price.
Then I print out an obnoxious amount of coupons from the internet.
I note the spreadsheet with what items I have coupons for and adjust the price.
I also utilize the Target Cartwheel, and you should too.  It's extra savings on everything!
Thursday, I go through the Best Market Ad and pick the "good deals" that apply to me.
I then add my selections to the second half of my excel spreadsheet along with the prices.
Then I create a total.  I make it bold and put a double underline underneath it.
As the last step, I edit the list to ensure I'm not exceeding my $130 weekly grocery budget.
Friday, I go shopping and will not buy anything if it is not on my list.
The check out line is a game.  I watch every item and coupon get scanned to see if my total matches.
Now do you believe I'm a freak?  Yea, that's what I thought...

I'm not saying go to this extreme to save money, but here are some pointers from an freak expert.

How to live on a budget.

1.  Make a budget.
Before you can actually live on a budget, you need to know what it is.  Create an excel sheet and add up all of your monthly bills including groceries and gas.  Then add up all your income.  Next subtract your expenses from your income and see what is left.  Your goal is to save at least 25% of your income in a savings account and to be able to spend 10% of your income on weekly fun.  Tweak the numbers until you are satisfied with where you stand.  If your expenses aren't matching your income, it's time to cut back on something.
This is the hardest part, but trust me it works!  Besides, Excel is almost a holy lifesaver!

2.  Find your go to stores.
I am in love with Target.  I could probably write a whole article on how Target makes me feel.  Although I'm having an affair with this store, I know it's best to shop their for groceries, and not actual food.  For that I go to my local Best Yest because it has quality meats at a very low price.
Writing this actually made me fantasize about that red bulls eye...  Shopping anyone?

3.  Coupons, Coupons, Coupons!
Sundays I hunt through Newsday and clip as many coupons as I can.  On Wednesdays, I'm rocking,, and then  By the time I'm done, there are very few things I'm buying at full price.  That $1.50 may seem like nothing, but get a bunch of coupons, and you just saved $20 of your hard-earned cash!
Hellloooo Shellac manicure!

4.  Utilize websites like Groupon and Amazon Social.
Everybody wants a nice night out, but on a budget that could get difficult.  Instead of spending the typical $200 on a date night of sushi and a movie, utilize Groupon and get discount movie tickets and then Amazon social to get 50% off your meal.  If these savings aren't enough, get creative!  Make your own sushi with friends and buy a bottle of Saki-Champagne.  You'll probably have more fun trying to roll sushi with friends, than sitting there being catered to anyway!
Luckily all my friends are on a budget as well, so they totally get it!

5.  Plan for budget killers.
Christmas or your baby girl's birthday month are perfect examples of budget killers!  There are ways around this.  Start a month (or two) before the holiday and start saving.  Increase your weekly grocery budget by $20 and buy a gift a week.  You won't even notice that hole in your pocket, and you're more likely to spend less on one gift when it's planned than when it's an emergency purchase.
I have been doing this for a few weeks now, and Mushy has a whole Santa stock already!

What are your money saving tips?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Employment: Hiring Discrimination

As you all know, I’m on the job hunt.
The interview went real well and I’m very hopeful.  Thank you to everyone who asked!
That got me thinking about all the interviews I’ve been on, and why I haven’t gotten many offers.
What changed about Jax over the less 2 years that made her less attractive to the job market?

Employers discriminate against hiring mothers, especially with young children.
People find out you have a kid, and suddenly you’re taboo.

I know that is a harsh and general statement, but I stick to it for the average company.
I mean, let’s think about it.
1. It’s almost guaranteed that a mother would require a family plan.
2. A mother may require extra time off of work to tend to their child.
3. A mother’s first priority isn’t their job, it’s their child.
4. There is a decent possibility that the mother may want to have more children.
All of this is valid, but does any of it really effect an individual's job performance?
I mean, give me a break!  A father has the same responsibilities as a mother!

I have interviewed to countless places.
Every company that learned I had a young child, never called back.
The two companies that did give me an offer, had no idea that I was a mommy.
Coincidence?  Maybe, but let’s be realistic…

Do you believe employers exercise discrimination (of any kind) while hiring?

Friday, November 14, 2014

List: How to know you are getting old.

I know what you are all thinking.
“You are only 26 years old.  How can you call that old?”
Well, let me tell you about my epiphany.

I find the song “Jealous” by Nick Jonas extremely s e x y.
He is also pretty yummy himself…
After admitting this to myself, I felt a little bit like a cougar.
There is something about being attracted to a Jonas Brother that feels very wrong.

Source - For the love of god, he's beautiful.

Other epiphanies that make you feel o l d.

1.  The songs you listened to as a child are now “oldies”.
Since when have the Spice Girls been classified as an oldie?  Ug!

2.  You can no longer lose 5 pounds in one week.
I know the not eating diet is very unhealthy, but at least it used to worked in emergency situations!

3.  You develop a sudden appreciation for real lipstick.
Goodbye clear lip gloss!  I’m not sure when you became tacky, but you did!

4.  You host dinner parties.
...and you actually cooked…and bought a bottle of wine…and put out real dishes…

5.  Brand name china actually impresses  you.
I mean, I love my Dooney & Burke bag, but is that tea cup Royal Albert?

6.  You actually care about politics a little bit.
Who do I need to vote for for the taxes coming out of my pay check to decrease?

7.  You have a favorite brand of everything.
Dove sensitive skin bar soap and Clinique foundation make for a zit free Jax!

8.  …and you get really pissed when they discontinue or change your favorite product.
Why did Neutrogena add sunscreen to my favorite facial moisturizer?  Ug!

9.  You are suddenly really aware of your breath.
I’ll save the Cheetos for when I’m walking distance from mouthwash.

10.  Being tired now always wins.
One more episode of Prison Break?  Um, no, unless you want to be to be real cranky tomorrow.

What made you realize that you’re slowly aging?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Employment: When is it time to move on?

When we first met in 2011, I was a staff accountant for a Japanese company.
Come on, I know you all remember those stories.  Does Russian Hat Man ring a bell?  Haha
It was a great work environment and I was very well liked and respected.

While I loved my job, after 5 years of accumulating more tasks, I felt overworked and under paid.
Then I got  p r e g n a n t
From a mental standpoint, they were super supportive.
From a business standpoint, they saw a young girl in a rough situation and tried to take advantage.
Instead of fighting for a job I loved, I packed up and left.
Talk about a Sicilian temper, huh?

I should have fought for a secure job I loved instead of just up and quitting.
I totally could have spoken to my manager and pleaded my case.

That’s how I ended up where I am today.
I’m a biller for a very large company.
…and by biller I mean a glorified paper scanner…
For the first few months, I hated this job.  Then as time went on, I made friends and became comfortable.
…and by comfortable I mean I hung up pictures of Mushy Face in my cubicle…
Then I hit my o n e  y e a r  m a r k and found out my job was being centralized.
Management assured me that I still had job security, but I would be doing admin work. Bleh
The double slap in the face was when they made the SME in charge of centralizing my own job!

Good thing I learned from my mistakes…
Every muscle in my body is itching to say “I quit” and walk out.
Instead I’m taking my time to find a company I can grow with.
I need a job that makes me happy, is secure, and can still support my little Mushyface.

What do you think is a valid reason to move on to a new job?

**I have a big interview for a supervisor position (doing what I used to) today.  Wish me luck!**

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