Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Domenica Catelli's Smple Summer Spaghetti

When I first saw this recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine - I knew right away I was going to make it!  I'm not sure I would call it "simple" since you have to grill the veggies first , but once you get that step out of the way - there's really not much to it!  And if you have leftover grilled vegetables from the night before - even easier!

Simple Summer Spaghetti


12 oz. packed dry spaghetti or spaghettini
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
pinch of crushed red pepper, or more to taste
2 cups cut-up grilled zucchini and/or summer squash
2 cups red and/or yellow cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil or Italian parsley

Directions:Bring large pot of salted water to boiling. Stir in spaghetti. Cook 9 to 10 minutes, just until tender.

Strain pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking liquid. Meanwhile, in extra-large skillet combine olive oil, garlic, crushed red pepper. Cook over medium heat about 3 minutes until garlic begins to soften. Do not let garlic brown.
yes, I know... mine is starting to brown

Stir in zucchini, tomatoes, and torn basil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, stir pasta liquid and spaghetti into vegetables in skillet. (If skillet is too small, mix all ingredients in large pot). Heat thoroughly. Sprinkle with parmesan. Transfer to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with chopped fresh basil.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rasberry Vinaigrette Marinated Steak w/ Summer Salad

Dinner last night.  I just wish I had taken pictures because the salad was beautiful!!
The steak was incredibly easy, and had a nice slightly sweet, slightly tangy flavor. 
The salad was based off THIS recipe with a few alterations.

4 thin sliced sirloin steaks
1 cup Newman's Own lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette dressing

Marinade steaks in dressing for at least 30 minutes.  Grill or broil to desired doneness. 

4 cups organic spring mix salad greens
1 pint strawberries ( rinsed, dried, and hulled)
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup Newman's Own lite Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette dressing

Rinse spring mix and dry.  Place in a large bowl.
Cut strawberries into quarters.  Add to salad greens.
Toast walnut pieces in a DRY pan, over medium high heat for 3 to 5 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before adding to salad.
Toss with vinaigrette dressing.

So easy!  So delicious!  So healthy!  The entire family enjoyed it.  I also served a side of sliced cucumbers, fresh from our garden. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Feeding The Crowd

It's time again for this week's Meal Plan.  As you may remember we're trying to eat a little healthier, a little less animal products and more fruits, vegetables, and grains. 

Sunday: raspberry vinaigrette marinaded steak with a spring mix, strawberry, and walnut salad w/ raspberry vinaigrette dressing, and fresh sliced cucumbers

Monday: Simple Summer Spaghetti

Tuesday:  Greek Salad

Wednesday: Veggie Pizza (with homemade crust!) with leftover salad

Thursday: Grilled salmon/ with quinoa, broccoli, and caesar salad

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Queen B's Summer Giveaway - WINNER!

Despite having many page views to the post announcing Queen B's Busy Work 's SUMMER GIVEAWAY - there were only 2 comments to the thread officially entering them into the contest. 

Due to the apparent lack of interest (and my overwhelming sense of fairness)  I am awarding a free pair of Fun & Fluffy Flip Flops to BOTH:

CONGRATULATIONS That corgi :) and cath!!

Look for your email from queenbsbusywork@yahoo.com coming soon with details on how to claim your prize!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Time for A Change

I think it's time for a change.  I'm talking a big change.  A change that might rock my family to its very core.  I'm talking about... asignificant change in how we eat.  (Yes, I have been watching too many food documentaries on NetFlix.  Which may or may not be a good thing.  But good or bad, it had gotten me thinking about our diet.)

Compared to many "typical" American diets, I think we're doing pretty well.  I've been trying to reduce our dependence on processed foods.  We don't eat a lot of red meat, but when I think about how much poultry we probably eat in a year - well, honestly, I don't want to think about how much poultry we probably eat in a year.  Or dairy products, especially cheese.  We eat a LOT of cheese.  There is definitely much room for improvement. 

I'm not talking about anything too drastic.  We aren't going to suddenly become vegans.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that!  If you have a vegan lifestyle - more power to you!  I just don't think we're ready for that.)

I do think I am going to begin with an experiment to limit our dairy intake, and reduce our meals containing meats to about 2 days a week.  And begin eliminating processed sugar.  And I fully expect there to be some shock to the system.  And some grumbling and restlessness among the natives (mostly of the 14 year old boy variety) 

Will this be successful?  I certainly hope so.  Time (and probably a few blog posts) will tell...

Friendly Reminder

Today is the last full day to sign up for the Queen B's Busy Work Summer Giveaway!!


Monday, June 18, 2012

Work at Home

Working at home is an interesting concept. 

Or maybe I should say working from home.  We all work at home, don't we?  But when one is doing work which is not actually related to the home itself or the family you're really working while at home, or working from home. But I digress...  What I really wanted to talk about was this:

When you work at home you feel divided.  You spend the time you are working thinking about all the home stuff that you need to do.  You think about what to make for dinner as you send an email.  You wonder if the laundry is dry yet while you make a phone call.  If you're computer is positioned in a spot like mine is right now, you stare at the dirty dishes while you organize some paperwork. 

When you are doing the home stuff you think about the work you need to get done.  While you make dinner, you think about the email you just sent - or need to send.  While you fold the laundry, you think about the phone call you just made - or need to make.  And if your computer is positioned in a spot like mine is now, you stare at it while you load the dishwasher and think about...  Well, you get the picture. 

I don't remember this being much of an issue when I worked out of the home.  Maybe it was and I've just allowed myself to block out that particular memory.  I'm sure there's a balance in there somewhere.  A way to shut down the work side of the brain while focusing on the home side, and vice verse.  I just haven't gotten the hang of it. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

You Are What You Eat

We've all heard it... "you are what you eat".  If that's true, this is what my family is going to be this week.

Sunday: Lasagna and salad (that's what the Man of the House requested for Father's day dinner, and he deserves it!)

Monday: Taco Salad

Tuesday: Chicken, broccoli, quinoa

Wednesday:  Pasta

Thursday: Leftovers (It's a busy night between class, guitar lesson, and softball game)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Queen B's Busy Work - SUMMER GIVEAWAY!!

The calendar says summer doesn't start for another week, but it certainly feels like it's already in full swing!  To celebrate  Queen B's Busy Work is giving away a pair of our Fun & Fluffy Flip Flops! 


These flip flops are a fun way to add a touch of whimsy to your summer outfits.  Available in Red/White/Blue, Purple/Black, Purple/Gold, Gold/Black, Navy/Gold, Orange/White, Light Blue/White, Green/Gold, Red/Black, Red/White,  or Black/White

Women's sizes 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10.

There are Three Ways to Enter:

~  Just leave a comment on this post!  Yes, it's just that easy!

~  You can earn additional entries by writing your own blog post, mentioning Queen B's Busy Work (including a link to either this post or our shop) and leaving a comment here with a link to your post.

Tweet about Queen B's Busy Work using the hashtag #funandfluffyflipflops

On June 20 (yep, the first day of summer!) a name will be drawn at random from the contest entries. 

The winner will receive one pair of fun and fluffy flip flops in the available color and size of her choice!

Good Luck!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Planning Ahead

It can be challenging to come up with a good meal plan for the week.  Even more so when you have company coming for the week.  Add company that needs a gluten free diet, and suddenly that meal plan can feel like the impossible. 

That was the circumstances I found myself faced with this week.  But I was up to the challenge!

MONDAY:  depends on when company arrives... if they get here in time for dinner it may be:  Breakfast - Bacon, Eggs, Grits.  If not... Hot dogs.

TUESDAY:  Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas (made w/ corn tortillas) w/ lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream.

WEDNESDAY:  Chicken Caesar Salad (sans croutons for the gluten free option)

THURSDAY:  Creamy Pasta Primavera (made w/ gluten free pasta), salad

FRIDAY:  Taco Salad

What's your meal plan for the week?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Hand-Crocheted Skirt

Now Available At Queen B's Busy Work

Attractive fitted skit with decorative scalloped flare at hem.

Easy and comfortable drawstring waist.

Made of a soft, medium weight yarn in shades of red, black, and gray.

Finished measurements:
Waist: 32"
Hips: 36"
Length: 23"

Due to the handmade nature of this item, small flaws and variations are to be expected.

$75.00 + shipping

Sorry, no refunds or exchanges.


Fun and Fluffy Flip Flops - Purple and Gold


Available Now At Queen B's Busy Work!

These flip flops add a touch of whimsy to your fun summer days.

Available in women's sizes 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10. Please indicate size when ordering.

Other Available Colors:
*Light Blue/White

Color of plastic flip flop used as base may vary depending on availability.

Exact fabric print/type and color may vary slightly due to availability.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

How My Garden Grows

Spring is quickly passing, and summer is right around the corner.  But if you are going by the weather, and the state of my vegetables and herbs - it's already here!  I have the first little babies showing up and I'm thrilled with their arrival!  Let's take a stroll...

The first baby red bell pepper

The first yellow pear heirloom tomato!
These delightful little yellow tomatoes are a colorful addition to summer salads.  With less acid than red tomatoes they can also be gentler on an acid-sensitive stomach.

My first Rutgers "heirloom" tomato
The Rutgers tomato was introduced in 1934 as an improved "General Use" tomato for processing as well as fresh market. Rutgers tomato was developed and released in the period between WW I and WW II.

Abundant basil!
I adore fresh basil!  I like cutting it just for the smell of it! Delicious!  Sometimes I'll throw some leaves into a green salad for a little extra "something".

Plenty of thyme!
Those are the potted plants.  I also have a pot of leaf lettuce which is coming along nicely, and a yellow bell pepper with plenty of blooms but no baby peppers yet. 

In the garden, yet more tomato plants are thriving - taking over even!  They have completely filled the cages and are the bushiest bushes I have seen in several years.  Expecting great things from them.  And the cucumber vines are in full bloom, with an abundance of teeny tiny little cukes showing up. 

I think it's going to be a nice, fresh summer around our house.  Produce costs decreased?  Check!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Frugal Father's Day

Since quitting my paying job, I'm on a budget.  A tight budget.  One that is getting tighter all the time.  So, when I realized Father's Day is coming up on June 17th - I started to be a little concerned.  

The Man of the House is great.  An awesome father and husband.  He deserves nothing but the best for Father's Day.  If  money were no issue I'd get him new golf clubs and a weekend golf trip on which to use them.  Season tickets to the Cleveland Browns (well, maybe the Panthers - they are within driving distance). A ginormous high def, flat screen, digital television set complete with surround sound.  Copies of all his favorite movies on Blu-Ray. 

Unfortunately, money IS an issue.  So, what to do?  How do we show him how much we love him and keep with in my extremely limited budget?  I did what any logical blogger type lady would do - I hit the web looking for ideas! 

Some of my favorites include:

A DREAM FUND: We all have something that we really want, but can't afford. Figure out what that is for Dad – a new car, a vacation, a fancy tool – and start a fund for it. This can be as simple as filling a jar with change or placing a few dollars in a savings account. The amount of money you contribute really isn't important – you just want to show him that you support his dream. 
I think one of the kids or I could even decorate a recycled jar special for this purpose.  Giving it that personal touch!

BOTTLE CAP BOOT SCRAPER:  A unique boot scraper Dad (or anyone else) can use to scrape the mud off his boots.

A WEEK OF SPECIAL LUNCHES:  Does Dad take his lunch to work each day? If so, treat him to a week of special lunches. You can bake up special desserts, make him his favorite sandwich, surprise him with little love notes – whatever you choose, it's sure to be tasty for him and affordable for you.
You can make a special card or certificate to give him on Father's Day, announcing your treat.

*  MESSAGE PHOTO:  Take a picture of the kids holding signs that spell out "We Love Dad", or something equally cheesy.  Frame it for Dad to display at home or office.

* WORLD'S SWEETEST DAD:  Purchase all his favorite childhood candies and put them in a big glass jar, add a six-pack of some kind of fizzy drink like root beer or grape soda.  Tape a note card on the top telling him he is the sweetest daddy in the world.

TEAM FAMILY FOOTBALL:  A signed Nerf Football  by his favorite team, his family of course.  Just use a permanent marker and monitor the little ones so that they are not permanently marked.

TAKE A HIKE:  Many dads like the outdoors.  Take the family to explore a nearby state park.  Enjoy a cookout or picnic after the hike.

I'm not saying which, if any of these, we might be working on for The Man of the House.  Just in case he's watching.  But I hope this has helped inspire you to come up with a unique Father's Day gift without busting the budget. 

Please share your own frugal Father's Day gift ideas in our comments section!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Can't Find Anything In This Fridge!

IT WAS TIME to clean the fridge.  Actually, it was past time.  How so much clutter can accumulate in one spot is beyond me.  But it happens. Magnets get moved.  Post it notes, school notices, sports schedules,etc get stuck randomly on the door and side.  Items get placed on top "just for now".  Suddenly, it's hard to find the actual refrigerator through all the things piled on and stuck to it. 

Things get put away in the wrong spot.  Items are placed inside with thoughts of "I'll finish this later", only to be forgotten.  And before you know it, you open the door to be greeted with what looks like a disaster area.

I may not want to know what's in that bowl on the bottom!

No need to call in the HazMat team (it hasn't been that long since I cleaned it out!)  All it takes is a sink full of soapy water, a cleaning rag, and a little elbow grease.  Take everything out.  Toss the old, unused items.  Reorganize what is still needed.  Wipe down the side walls and the shelfs. 

Voila!  Clean and organized!
Hey look!  Two containers of greek yogurt! 

Next step, remove everything from the sides and top of the fridge.  A little more wiping and washing.  Reorganize magnets, pictures, and things that are still relavent to our lives. 

Much better!  I can actually find things again.  And I get that sense of satisfaction that comes with completely a much dreaded, but also much needed task!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Bridal Flip-Flops

Today's bride has more freedom to express her own sense of style.  When comfort is important for you on your wedding day - these flip flops are for you! 

Frilled in a lovely combination of white fabric, white on white print fabric, and white tulle, these flip flops are ideal for the fun-loving, casual bride.  Or for kicking off your heels after the ceremony and dancing the night away at your reception.  They can also provide a touch of footwear whimsy at the bachelorette party or bridal shower. 

Available in women's sizes 5/6, 7/8, and 9/10

Material may vary slightly from item to item due to availability

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Grocery Challenge Update

I challenged myself to spend $200 or less on groceries this week, including our monthly trip to Sam's Club.

Groceries total :  $104.29

Sam's Club total:  $92.41

Grand total:  $ 197.70

I Did It!!  Yes!!!

I also invested about $25.00 into canning equiptment.  A canning pot w/ rack, wide funnel, and jar lifter.  Looking forward to doing my own canning this summer while fruits and veggies are in season.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Grocery Challenge

The challenge (should I chose to accept it, and I do):

Spend $200 or less on groceries this week - including a monthly trip to Sam's Club. 

Can I do it?  Is it even remotely possible? 

Stay tuned to see the results!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Dirty Water

I love my dirty carpet.  Well, actually...  I love cleaning my dirty carpet.  To the point where I think it might be bordering on an obsession.

Seriously, I find something very satisfying about running that Bissell PowerSteamer over the dirty floor and seeing it suck up all that brown water.  In fact, the only thing more thrilling is actually emptying the reservoir and seeing all that nastiness first hand.  The dirtier the water - the better!!

Yes,  I know it's gross.  And disgusting.  Especially if I stop to consider that all that was just in my carpet!  But, it still gives me a sense of accomplishment to look at what I just cleaned up.  

So, I'll keep cleaning the carpet.  And getting just a little excited when it's time to empty the dirty water.  And maybe filling out an application to be on an episode of "My Strange Addiction". 
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