Friday, January 29, 2010

a bit of a ramble--blame the weather

Photo courtesy of bored roommate and reporter in the field Jess.

I never want to work for a place that can't declare a snow day.  Snow days are the most indulgent type of day-off ever.  A snow day is an excuse to wear favorite pajamas all day, cook every single thing that's in the kitchen without doing the dishes, and spend the remainder of one's time in the most frivolous ways possible.  So far today, I slept until nearly noon, drank chocolate milk (pre-snow day grocery store runs are all about self-indulgence too), watched last night's episode of Bones, made and consumed some lunch, and read a bit.  My afternoon if full of more of the same.  Bliss.  If I had some chocolate, I might die from contentment.

I went to the grocery on Tuesday because I was making dinner for my sweet Uncle Don who drove down to Little Rock to take a shot at fixing my broken dryer.  I didn't plan on going back, no matter what the weather might or might not do later in the week, but yesterday afternoon, I had to make another Kroger run to buy orange juice to take to Our House (a local homeless shelter) to go along with the brinner that we were serving last night.  So since I found myself at Kroger with all my weather-concerned neighbors and standing in line for one thing was going to be just as annoying as standing in line for multiple things, I bought the indulgent chocolate milk and the ingredients to try my first Pioneer Woman recipe.

Have I talked about my girl-crush on the Pioneer Woman here yet?  You know the part about my winning a $75 amazon gift card in one of her contests.  And I feel like, without doing the archival research, that I've talked about here other times too.  But maybe you don't know the depth of my admiration/stalking.  P-Dub cracks me up, and I want my blog to be just like hers when it grows up--without the livestock and the fancy camera and the homeschooling.  Her recipe posts are awesome, full of step-by-step pictures of what things should be looking like at each stage.  It's a delight.  So this week when she proclaimed that she had perfected a non-chunky salsa recipe, I was definitely intrigued.

I have salsa issues.  I love Mexican restaurant salsa, but I don't have even a smidge of love for thick or chunky jars of salsa.  The only kind I will ever buy is Tostitos Restaurant Style, which they stopped making for a few years but is now back, I'm happy to report.  But if sensible, frugal Ellen is leading the grocery shopping expedition, impulsive, salsa-loving Ellen doesn't get to pay $2.79, plus another couple of bucks for chips to enjoy a salsa experience.  I don't know why frugal Ellen gets so hung up about this.  I hate frugal Ellen.  She never lets me have any fun.  Luckily PW-loving, cooking enthusiast Ellen can sometimes show frugal Ellen who's boss.
Lucky for all my various personalities because PW's description of her new salsa recipe sounded like everything I wanted in a salsa--and there was very little chopping.  I hate chopping.  It uses canned tomatoes and Rotel and a food processor among other things.  I don't own a food processor, but I decided that all the ingredients were liquidy enough that I could try it in a blender.  So I went for it.  And it is awesome, possibly perfect.  Mine did turn out a bit runnier than hers, due to the blender, I'm sure, but I liked it that way.
  This morning frugal Ellen got curious about the cost of buying all those separate ingredients, so she got got out her receipt and did some math.  I already had the onion, garlic, salt, sugar, and cumin here at home, so the cost of those are not figured in, but the truth is, I always have those things at home, and I used such small amounts of each that the cost seems negligible for those ingredients.  Anyway I made 48 ounces of salsa for $3.78.  The jars of Tostitos are 16 ounces, I'm fairly certain, so technically I saved $4.59 by making my own.  Take that, frugal Ellen.  The only bad spot is that I'm almost out of chips and I'm committed to these pajamas.

In other news, I didn't actually make it to the homeless shelter last night to serve dinner after making that special trip to Kroger for o.j.  Yesterday morning I woke up with a ridiculous amount of pain in my neck from sleeping on it funny.  I tried to let the shower pound on it some, which is usually all my aches and pains need, but this was serious.  When I made the reflexive move of throwing my head back after removing my wet-hair towel, I thought I would hit the floor in agony.  It was bad.  I went to work and whined all day, and after the Kroger run, I decided that I couldn't take it any more.  So I sent the juice to Our House with Jess and made a date with my bed, some ibuprofen, and a heating pad.  I could make myself comfortable in various positions, but when I got up later to eat dinner and make the salsa, it still hurt, and this morning when I finally dragged out of bed, it still hurt.  It still hurts now.  I should probably take more ibuprofen.  Instead, I'm going to complain.  I don't like being old.

Frugal Ellen won another victory yesterday, besides the salsa incident.  Jess and I are moving to a new place.  Last week, our friend Dee told us that the other half of her duplex was about to be empty, so I put in a call to her landlord immediately.  We hadn't seen Dee's place at that point, but we knew she had two bedrooms and we knew she payed $225 less in rent than us.  That was definitely worth pursuing.  We were able to see Dee's house, which is a mirror image of her neighbors on Saturday, and we liked it enough to stay interested.  We were able to see the one that would actually be ours yesterday afternoon, and we're sold.  We're not moving until mid-March, which works out great for the remainder of our lease here.  It's in North Little Rock, which is closer to Shane and closer to work for me, but further for Jess.  She says she's fine with that.  She also says she's fine with the smaller closets, but we'll see about that.  The kitchen is small and has some storage and space issues, but I have too much stuff, so here's an opportunity to work on that.  Anyway, we're excited.  It's going to be fun to live next door to Dee--and not feel too worried that we're being too loud for the neighbors.  And it's going to be a delight to pay $112.50 less in rent every month.  Frugal Ellen's heart sings.

Now I've got to stop this ramble.  More frivolous entertainments await.  Wherever you are, imaginary readers, I hope you're warm and snug and safe.


  1. You can have all the boxes and wrapping paper that Monica and Michael don't want. And let us know when you need help moving.
    I love that you tried PW's salsa right away. I emailed myself the recipe and thought it sounded really, really good.

  2. I love your snow day! I also need to make that salsa since Will hates chunks, you know. Wow! about the move! Sounds like a good one. This post made me laugh and laugh--Hooray, Frugal Ellen!

  3. I hope that Jess had time to call her momma before you announced your move to the blogging world. 'Cause I heard that as soon as she does, there's no turning back.

  4. We apparently have the exact same attitude about snow days. I got up at 6:30, and got dressed to teach, drove half-way to Searcy and turned around. I tried to work on lectures and stuff from home and make a 7up calendar for Feb. (Tonight for sure!), but most of the day was spent watching a movie, eating an obscenely large breakfast (3 fried eggs, 3 Tenn. Pride sausage patties, 4 biscuits with Jenni's strawberry freezer jam mixed with a little bit of peach jelly), attempting to slay a dragon on a video game, and building various things with Elijah. Since I was cooking in the evening, he and I made a fryin' pot out of his blocks complete with a block spatula, lids, and toy fish to cook. Everybody got to have a bowl of fried plastic fish with their spaghetti at supper. Jenni spent the whole day working on tax and bookkeeping stuff and was very productive. The woman just ain't right!

    I'm also a big fan of PW's cooking blog. I've been wanting to make her dulce de leche coffee and the fried ribeye steaks ever since I first discovered the blog. Jeff loves it too.

  5. Love how frugal you are, Ellen. Another place? Just one year in this apartment, huh? Just kidding. Is this apartment in North Little Rock? I thought I heard Dee say that she lives over there. Maybe I'm wrong. Not sure if I will be able to help move you, seeing as my wedding is also in mid-March. If I could, I so would be there. I enjoy helping others move--much easier to pack up there stuff than it is my own. Hope your neck feels better soon. I've been sitting around in my pajamas for 3 days now--unfortunately sick. Beginning to slowly mend though. :)

    Love you!


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