2015 Gratitude List


  1. Opportunity
  2. Health
  3. Change
  4. Sisterhood
  5. Coffee
  6. Argan oil
  7. Dark red lipstick
  8. Faith
  9. Development
  10. Movement
  11. Grace
  12. Clean water
  13. Stability
  14. Affordable food
  15. A walking neighborhood
  16. A snowless November
  17. Cheap head scarves
  18. My husband
  19. Mid’s job
  20. Abundance
  21. Friendship
  22. Networks
  23. Goldfish crackers
  24. Travel opportunities
  25. Busses
  26. Sheep
  27. A more consistent heating system this year
  28. The local police
  29. Magnesium
  30. Modern medicine
  31. Education
  32. Shadows
  33. Self acceptance
  34. Books
  35. Family
  36. Hope
  37. Skill development
  38. Consistency
  39. Routine
  40. Teaching
  41. Challenge
  42. Aging
  43. Gray hairs
  44. Chap stick
  46. Target
  47. Vacation time
  48. Sick time
  49. Overtime
  50. Self care

This year was hard. I have to admit. Most of my list this year is concepts, which makes it tricky.

Gratitude List Rules:

I can’t take credit for this one, I got the idea years ago from The Frugal Girl. You write a list, without thinking or planning, of 50 things you’re grateful this year. They don’t have to be earth-shatteringly important things, as long as you’re actually grateful for them. The list isn’t ranked, other than being the order you think of them.


Apple Spice Kitchen Simmer


I’m slowly starting to do [seriously Memory Month was the best thing I’ve done for this blog yet] [spoiler: do is 2016’s Word of the Year. More on that later] again. It’s not a happy thing. It’s a fighting against the current thing, a I really don’t want to be doing this thing. But I know that it’s like exercise-I might hate it when I’m doing it, but eventually I’ll be glad that I did.

Speaking of which, I took myself on a wander yesterday, which is why I finally got around to trying a kitchen simmer. I got in the habit of taking myself out on dates when I was going to SUNY Oswego. The idea was that I am an introverted, impatient thing, and if no one was going to take me, I would take myself. I haven’t done it in years but there has been oddities in trying to plan Thanksgiving this year and it sent me into a minor tailspin. I went and got myself a new lipstick, took myself on a lunch date, and wandered through Kenmore enjoying the cold. There’s about three days a fall where I like the cold and then I remember it’s Buffalo and it’s going to be cold for six months…

I came home and made a pie. Which left me with cores (and a recipe to go up later this week). And led to finally trying a kitchen simmer. My building is decently old, and even when it’s freshly cleaned it smells a little musty from the basement. It gets worse in the winter. I want my home to smell good, but Mid can’t handle candles.

This is a very simple project, and it will appeal to the idea of using as much as you can for as long as you can. You can simmer it for a couple of days, adding more water as you go. You’re not eating it so letting it sit overnight isn’t an issue but that’s about as far as I would let it go.

Apple Spice Kitchen Simmer

To a medium sauce pot, add either several apple cores and peels, or two chopped apples, cinnamon sticks, and a good sized dash of pumpkin spice. Let simmer slowly.

You can add cranberries, oranges, or vanilla for variety.

Beauty Babble-Packing for the Truly Minimal

profusion palette 2015

Trying this again since the first time I tried to post this it tried to post it for four days ago…

This is my favorite time of year for cosmetics. Like, I wait all fall for the Profusion palettes to show up at Walgreens.

I love the colors that come out-Wet and Wild’s Here’s to the Wild Ones? I’ve bought three of those lipsticks, and I almost never buy multiples of a LE line. I don’t even do that with my oils from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. I love, love, love dark lips-especially cranberries and wines.

But I really can’t resist ultra cheap cosmetics. The $1 Profusion palettes are actually normally pretty good-I’ve had maybe 10 of the total and only had to ditch one for lack of pigmentation. They’re not going to be heavily pigmented…but. If you’re just finding my blog, here’s the thing: I veil full time. I haven’t shown my hair in public during the day in close to two years. So between my hoard of dark lip colors and the already heavy visual of the top half of my head, I’m perfectly fine with a lower pigmented eye-especially for work. In other words, a lower color pay off is a lot less of an issue for me than it is for a lot of people (and honestly, most of these really cheap palettes are fine-not amazing but fine-to begin with).


Just so you get an idea of what I mean when I say I already have a lot of color near my eyes. The photo is filtered but I’m also fairly certain I’m barefaced in it.

I’m going home after Thanksgiving. I’ve not had a trip home on a major holiday in eight years.

I’m only going overnight, taking an Amtrak. So I’m dealing with two things: a lack of time and a lack of space.

I go truly minimal for trips like this.

-A bb cream or lightweight foundation. Just enough to make it look like I haven’t been on a train for four hours.

-A light highlighting blush. I  like Maybelline’s Master Class.

-A neutral heavy palette. I like to use one that also has a couple of pinks or oranges for options.

-Brown eyeliner and mascara,  for my coloring it’s more forgiving than black.

-A ‘my lips but better’ lipstick-right now I like Rimmel’s Kate Moss 08, the black tube one.

-For cleansing I’ll throw in a pack of wipes. I’ll also throw in a fluffy brush.

I might add in a red tinted balm and a darker colored smudge pot. But this will give me a decent base to work with and not eat up baggage space.

Whiskey Scented Cranberry Sauce

This was a complete and utter accident. Or at the least it was very unplanned.

But I’m seriously considering always making my cranberries like this.

This makes a fairly small amount of sauce-it was only the two of us this year, and I’m the only one who eats cranberries. But it’s insanely simple to scale up-just remember that liquid and sugar are always half of the volume of the berries (so 1 cup juice to 2 cups berries).

You could make this plain, and I have that recipe listed in the archives. However, there’s something about the combination of orange juice and whiskey that makes these berries amazing.

Roughly 6 ounces whole cranberries (about half of an average sized bag)

1 cup orange juice

Roughly 1/2 shot whiskey

1 cup sugar

Over medium low heat, cook all until the berries start popping.You might want a splatter screen. Once the berries start popping, let cook down about 20 minutes more or until it’s reduced by about a quarter.

Place in a bowl and cool in the fridge. The sauce will thicken as it sits as the pectin in the berries starts to gel.

*This is a variation of the Ball Blue Book cranberry sauce, and should be safe to BWB can if you wanted to, but the recipe written to this scale probably won’t produce enough sauce to make it worth it.

2014 Gratitude List

sunflower-187984_1280Every year on Thanksgiving, I write a list of the first 50 things I’m thankful for. This started from an idea posted by The Frugal Girl.

They’re given in no particular order, and they don’t have to be ‘huge’. They just have to be the things that you’re glad to have had throughout the year.

Feel free to write and post your own list (though crediting The Frugal Girl would be nice).

1. Kindles

2. Coffee

3. Opportunity

4. Growth

5. Hardship

6. Family

7. Change

8. Busses

9. Friendship

10. The military

11. New beginnings

12. Endings to situations

13. Healing

14. Hope

15. Netflix

16. Advantages

17. Steady work

18. Mid finding new steady work

19. Safety through the snow

20. Housing

21. Adequate food

22. This neighborhood

23. Reliable vehicles

24. Chocolate

25. Clean water

26. Body scrub

27. Stability

28. Education

29. Sleep

30. Overtime

31. Financial advances

32. Paying off one of my two student loans and a car loan

33. Freedom

34. Travel

35. Yarn

36. The Internet

37. Blog readers

38. New blog networks

39. Social networking

40. A solid support base

41. Finding a solid medical team

42. A treatment plan

43. Finding a support group

44. Cooking

45. New cookware

46. Indoor plumbing

47. Junk food

48. Warmth

49. The ability to help

50. The gift of a new year

Thanksgiving 2014

free use via Pixabay

free use via Pixabay

I love that Mid has started doing some of the grocery shopping. I can’t get him to do full loads but he’ll stop when I ask him to pick something up.

I was going to do scratched stuffing, but he informed me he only eats stuffing from a box. I’m trying to make things simpler on myself, so I’m not going to go through the hassle of cooking a dish he’s not going to eat.

But our shopping conversations, they go something like this:

Me, this morning: Mid, would you eat homemade stuffing on Thursday?

Mid: No, I only like stuff out of a box.

Me: Okay, well, then stop and get a box when you get home-and some eggs. Also, just grab a box of stuffing. Any box of stuffing. There’s going to be like 15 kinds.

Mid: makes noises that he understands and will get some random stuffing.


Me…Just get the stuffing that’s on sale and the cheapest eggs.

Which is what he ended up doing, but I should have just texted him photos.


As far as I can tell, we’re having Thanksgiving here by ourselves this year. So it’ll be the two of us. This menu will be overkill for us, but we an have leftovers.



A turkey breast (I still haven’t decided how I’m going to cook it)

Squash, pureed and baked with cinnamon and butter

Mashed potatoes


Whole berry cranberry sauce

Green beans, probably Chinese restaurant style (I need to post that recipe)



Scalloped Corn

Pumpkin pie, probably traditional

Sweet Cornbread

I know that the blogosphere honestly doesn’t care about my carb intake, nor should they, but I feel the need to state that I am not eating all the baked goods that I’m making this month.

This corn bread, which was lovely and sweet (and toasted up like corn cakes the next morning) went with me to Thanksgiving. I’ve never made a corn bread that didn’t come out of a box prior to this recipe and I was really happy with how this came out.

I think that the sugar could be cut back a little but Mid liked it the way that it was.

The way that I’ve been softening butter for these recipes is to put it in a pot on the oven vent while the oven preheats. I put the butter on while I’m getting out the rest of the ingredients and by the time I’m ready to start baking the butter’s generally soft.

Recipe found here

1 stick butter, softened

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cup flour

2 eggs

1 cup cornmeal

1 1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 tea salt

Beat all in a mixer, add to a 13×9 pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

31daysofbakingBaking this season? Feel free to add your baking links~