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If you are new here, please visit the official welcome page to get better acquainted with Lifestyles of the Organized.


Featured Post:

deal-chasr-logoAnnouncing…DEAL Chasr! – I’m taking a break from regular programming today (Mission: Appliances), to announce a great new site, called DEAL Chasr.  The reason I’m taking time to announce this new website is because (shameless plug alert) it’s my husband’s . . .


Important Notice:

Lifestyles of the Organized is currently on HIATUS so my hand and wrist tendinitis can heal.  Thanks for stopping by!

I would like to start this unorthodox post by saying that I’ve really had fun and learned a lot while writing for Lifestyles of the Organized during the past six and a half months. When I started this blog in October, I never knew where it would go. But I can say with assurance that it has exceeded my expectations.

Does this sound like a resignation speech? Well, it isn’t–at least not exactly. You see, I’ve developed hand and wrist tendinitis over the last few months. At first I thought I could just cut back a little and make some changes to my ergonomics setup. For example, I am dictating this post using Microsoft’s voice recognition software (which is pretty cool by the way).

The problem is, the only thing that really cures tendinitis is rest. I’ve been avoiding this conclusion for some time because it requires drastic changes in my day to day life (i.e. we use our hands for everything). But I want to get better, so that means I need to do what I need to do.

Of course, I couldn’t approach this issue without doing a little organizing. In deciding what sorts of changes I was going to implement, I made a few lists. I wrote down all the major ways I use my hands aggressively throughout the day and prioritized them. Unfortunately, Lifestyles of the Organized was one of those activities I decided to cut–at least for now. I plan to go on a hiatus from most activities that involve the computer because that seems to be the main source of my tendinitis. How long this will be I do not know and neither does my doctor. All I know is that healing requires rest.

What does this mean for the future of Lifestyles of the Organized? After my hiatus of undetermined length I will reevaluate my priorities and see if I can return. Until then I just want to focus on getting better.

Thank you to my loyal readers who have made writing about all things organization that much more fun. Until next time! 🙂

Last week was pretty leftover heavy, but that was OK because I ♥ leftovers! I’m excited about this week because my husband and I are going to stretch ourselves a little in the kitchen and attempt to make baked potato soup with bread bowls. I’ll make the soup, he’ll make the bowls (using his favorite book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day). I’m combining various aspects of three different recipes for the soup, so hopefully it turns out!

Onto meal planning…

meal-plan-mondays

Monday 3/30/09

Hamburger Casserole

Tuesday 3/31/09

Leftovers

Wednesday 4/1/09

Baked Potato Soup with bread bowls (NEW)

Thursday 4/2/09

Leftovers

Friday 4/3/09

Leftovers

Saturday 4/4/09

BBQ Pork Ribs (slow cooker) with fried parmesan potatoes, green beans, and cornbread

Sunday 4/5/09

Leftovers

* * * * * *

I posted my weekly menu to the I’m an Organizing Junkie blog, so be sure to check it out and participate if you’d like!

Announcing…DEAL Chasr!

I’m taking a break from regular programming today (Mission: Appliances), deal-chasr-logoto announce a great new site, called DEAL Chasr. The reason I’m taking time to announce this new website is because (shameless plug alert) it’s my husband’s! He is not only a lover of deals, but is also an expert computer whiz.  To summarize its function in a sentence, DEAL Chasr was born out of a desire to identify and capitalize on price drops on Amazon.com.

Amazon.com is an Internet shopper’s dream: it sells pretty much everything, boasts low prices, and offers an option for free shipping on most orders. However, if you’ve spent any time on Amazon, it won’t take you very long to notice that prices change constantly. DEAL Chasr chases down significant price drops as soon as they happen, allowing frugal shoppers (like us!) to cash in on some great deals.

deal-chasr-screen

Case in point, last week I was shopping for a birthday present for my brother. Even though DEAL Chasr wasn’t live yet, my husband and I were still monitoring it as we were making some final changes (I helped with design). I noticed that one of my brother’s favorite TV shows, Nip/Tuck, was being identified as an “amazing deal” by DEAL Chasr. The price was now listed at $23.99 and it had previously been listed (for some time) at $48.99.  I capitalized and bought him Season 3.  Brother, if you are reading this, I hope you liked your gift!

To say the least, I’m very excited about this new site! If you’d like to learn more about it, there is a helpful FAQ. Be sure to stop by frequently because deals change constantly. There’s also a handy option to subscribe via feed.

Happy deal searching! 🙂

2010 Update: DEAL Chasr now offers a very cool Ultimate Guide to Buying and Reselling Online if you are interested in not only finding great deals, but making a little extra money on the side!

Today I have the privilege of guest posting on the awesome Organizing Your Way blog. Mandi asked me to talk about how my Friday series, Mission: Appliances, has been going. The timing is perfect, because I’m exactly half way through the series. In addition to inviting me to discuss how I came up with the idea in the first place, she also asked me to share what I’ve learned so far.

So head on over the Organizing Your Way blog and check out my post!

The meals I prepared last week were very tasty and it was quite the treat to be able to use $2.99/lb beef tenderloin in my Oaxacan tacos…yum! On Wednesday I sat down and planned my next month of meals and I can safely stay that I’m going to stick to the month (instead of week) plan—it’s much more efficient.

Spring is in the air here in northern Wisconsin. My snowdrops are popping up and soon will bloom. And you what that means? Gardening is right around the corner! In fact this past week I planted basil, bell peppers, and Thai peppers under grow lights in my basement.

This week we’re going to be a little busier than usual, so leftovers will be the name of the game for the most part. I love leftovers! Onto meal planning…

meal-plan-mondays

Monday 3/23/09

Leftovers

Tuesday 3/24/09

Leftovers

Wednesday 3/25/09

Grilled chicken and mozzarella panini’s

Thursday 3/26/09

Peanut Butter Noodles (NEW)

Friday 3/27/09

Leftovers

Saturday 3/28/09

Leftovers

Sunday 3/29/09

Leftovers (freezer)

* * * * * *

I posted my weekly menu to the I’m an Organizing Junkie blog, so be sure to check it out and participate if you’d like!

This week for Mission: Appliances, we were finally able to use one of our newest appliances, our deep fat fryer. While not an appliance we think we should use too often (um, ya, not too healthy people), we have always wanted one for special meals. So, without further adieu, let’s get out the deep fat fryer!

mission-appliances2

We own the Presto 05466 ProFry Stainless-Steel Dual-Basket Immersion-Element 12-Cup Deep Fryer (now that’s a mouthful). We asked for it for Christmas and have not had the opportunity to use it yet—that is, until now.

While I like to keep battering and frying foods down to a minimum, I do think that occasionally it’s fun to do. And in our case, we really wanted an easier way to prepare certain foods we were already frying, just in a skillet (talk about a mess!). Enter the deep fat fryer.

Deep Fat Fryer Vital Statistics

  • Brand: Presto
  • Average Price: $70
  • Power: 1800 watt immersion element
  • Size: 16 X 15 X 11 inches; 12 pounds
  • Features: Adjustable thermostat; oil-ready indicator light; cover acts as a spatter shield
  • Complexity: Easy to use
  • Versatility: Deep fat fries just about anything
  • Cleaning: A little involved to clean
  • Storage: Unit is pretty large, so needs a bit more room than most appliances in order to store
  • Safety Tips: Heating elements get very hot; oil and steam can both be extremely hot
  • Pre-series Location: On the top shelf of a hall closet
  • Pre-series Use Level: Brand new, never used before

deep-fat-fryer

Project Deep Fat Fryer

When we asked for a deep fat fryer for Christmas, we actually picked a particular model out. It was highly reviewed and seemed like a good choice. After taking it out the box, we prepared it by cleaning it out fully and purchasing a 5 quart jug of canola oil.

deep-fat-fryer-canola-oil

One of the meals we had wanted to cook with a deep fat fryer was egg rolls, or more specifically, Lumpia. Our friends make it all the time and also recently started using a deep fat fryer. We thought it seemed like a good idea since frying the little egg rolls in a skillet was difficult and messy.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

1 lb ground hamburger
3 carrots, minced
8 oz jar of water chestnuts, drained and minced
1 egg
¼ cup soy sauce
Ground pepper and garlic powder to taste
2 TBS lemon juice

1 lb package egg roll wrappers (~20 wrappers)
1 TBS flour + 1 TBS water mixture

Directions:

1. Mix the hamburger, carrots, water chestnuts, egg, soy sauce, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.
2. Take 3 small spoonfuls of meat mixture and place them along the long edge of an egg roll wrapper. Gently roll the wrapper until it is almost rolled up. Apply some flour/water mixture to the end and finish rolling (seals the egg roll shut).
3. Cut each long egg roll into 3 sections. Continue to repeat steps 2 and 3 until you’ve used up all the meat mixture.
4. Fry the egg rolls in oil until the meat is fully cooked inside and the egg roll wrappers are crispy.

deep-fat-fryer-egg-rolls

Here’s what we did with step 4, using our deep fat fryer: We pre-heated the oil for 20 minutes to 375 degrees F. Then we placed egg rolls at the bottom of each of the two baskets, submerging the baskets into the hot oil. After 2-3 minutes, the egg rolls were done. We continued to do this until all the egg rolls were fried.

deep-fat-fryer-egg-rolls-cooked

There were a few complications we encountered, but were able to work through by the end. First, we were not sure if we would have been able to place more uncooked egg rolls in the baskets at one time. We were afraid they would stick to one another and cook together as one big glob. So we played it safe and only placed one layer of egg rolls in each basket, making sure there was enough space between each egg roll to prevent touching.

The second issue we had was with the egg rolls sticking to the bottom of the basket. We read in the instruction manual that this could be a problem. We eventually realized that if we coated the baskets with hot oil first before adding the egg rolls and if we shook the baskets a few times while the egg rolls were submerged, the egg rolls did not stick too much.

The Verdict

The lumpia was quite yummy! It was great to be able to fry them so quickly (2-3 minutes) and have them evenly cooked. That was definitely a problem I had with frying them previously in a skillet. They were nice and crispy and tasted great coming out of the deep fat fryer. Clean-up was a little more involved than with most appliances, but it was to be expected. We plan to reuse the oil several times before discarding it. Overall, we love the deep fat fryer!

Reader Reflection

Do you own a deep fat fryer? What is your favorite thing to fry?