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Hey, Picky peeps! It was another great weekend around the Picky Palace. We had planned on being out of town this weekend, but our plans fell through, so we stuck around the house.

Cooking

It’s not a weekend around here without some culinary adventures. I did a mixture of fun cooking and meal prep for next week.

Yogurt

Our yogurt stash was waning, so I whipped up a new batch of yogurt. I’ve finagled my own method of yogurt-making that just takes 30 minutes of active work on the stovetop. Check it out here if you’re interested. It’s the easiest and safest food DIY I’ve ever done!

Also, I remembered to save the whey this time, which I’ll use to bake bread next weekend.

yogurt




Macarons

Macarons were the weekend adventure at the Picky Palace.

First of all, I bought a cheap carton of eggs instead of our usual expensive eggs  to play with a macaron recipe. I felt a little guilty about that, but I’m not spending .50 an egg for a recipe that may or may not be a disaster. Sorry, mother Earth.

Anyway, the FIRST cheap egg I cracked open had two yolks. Mr. Picky Pincher said it was good luck!

monstanto egg

Plenty of Monsanto jokes were made, of course. I was peeved because two egg yolks meant less egg whites for my macarons. Grumble grumble.

Anyhoo, the first batch of macarons I attempted was a resounding success! I used a Food Network Magazine recipe that Picky Nikki gave me. I made a vanilla-flavored cookie with a vanilla bean whipped cream filling, and a second tangelo filling. The result was heaven:

macarons

I was so proud that they baked correctly that I took an oven selfie.

oven selfie

Mr. Picky Pincher also took a picture of me taking a selfie. Behind the scenes action right here, y’all!

selfie inception

In fact, these macarons were SO perfect that I wanted to make a second batch. Work has been really rough lately and last week a few coworkers kindly stepped in to help with my workload. They even stayed late on Friday, poor things. I wanted to thank them with some homemade macarons.

I decided to go with a spiced cinnamon pear macaron since we had a lot of pears lying around.




I whipped up a spiced pear compote and mixed it into some homemade buttercream icing to make my filling (1 cup powdered sugar + 8 tablespoons room temperature butter = perfect buttercream). I was sooooo sure that my macarons would be perfect so I didn’t worry about jinxing myself by making the filling first (aha).

The first batch of macarons came out cracked and didn’t have feet. Apparently that means I over-mixed the batter, so it was ruined.

I bucked up and made a second batch,  which technically came out of the oven perfectly.

Except for one little problem.

I traced my forms on the parchment paper with a Sharpie and FORGOT TO FLIP IT OVER.

I just … why?

bad macarons

“Well.”

This second batch was ruined because I don’t want my coworkers eating Sharpie. Oh my.

We had a good laugh about it and I do plan to attempt a third batch–with food-safe templates. Third time’s a charm, right?

Kombucha

Mr. Picky Pincher let his kombucha bottle-condition a little longer than usual. The result was super-fizzy and wonderful kombucha! He made another batch on Sunday night so we should have some great probiotic drinks here in a few weeks.

Waffles

Mr. Picky Pincher used Pappagiorgio The Sourdough Starter to make Sunday morning waffles. He cooked a few batches and froze them for easy weekday breakfasts. Woohoo!

Butternut squash

I got off my butt and decided to jazz up our dinners for next week (stay tuned!). One meal calls for butternut squash, which is a pain to cook on weeknights. I broke down the squash and roasted it ahead of time. I froze it for easy weeknight eating. Score!

butternut squash




Tangelos

This is the time of year when HEB puts out a really good sale on a different fruit each week. Last week it was plums and this week it was blackberries, pears, and tangelos. Naturally I stocked up!

I washed the blackberries and froze them. They’re great for making pancake syrup.

Then I zested the tangelos, peeled them, and separated them into slices. I was left with a mound of tangelo peels, which I brought to a boil on the stove in water with cinnamon. Frugal win for a DIY air freshener!

tangelo peels

Zap Had Adventures

I tried to use “Zap’s room” as an office this weekend because, well, it’s actually our office and not HIS room. He didn’t like this and monitored me the entire time I was in the room. Possessive, much?

“Mahm, stahp.”

He was also upset that I had a freelancing deadline, which meant I couldn’t play with the cat laser. His subsequent ‘love me’ face: 

Cats sleep in the weirdest positions! Here is his downward-facing cat:

zap the kitten

Freelance Writing

My full time gig has been difficult lately, but life on the freelance front is going pretty well. I have a few regular clients, which means a little stream of income which I’ll use to grow the blog.

And buy Girl Scout cookies, but whatever. 😉

On Saturday I used the office to work through a tight writing deadline. Ever-helpful Zap wanted to be my muse and oversaw the project.

zap interrupting

I do admit that it’s tough making time for a full-time job, blog, and several writing clients. All these side projects are not for the faint of heart, but it’s really stuff that I enjoy doing, so it’s worth it. 🙂



Stop–Hammock Time!

hammock time

Mr. Picky Pincher enjoyed the temperate soon-to-be-spring weather by hooking up a hammock in the back yard. He drank his homemade stout beer and listened to the birds.

The best part?

It didn’t cost a thing. 😉

Oh, I got a haircut

new haircut

Also, this is me going makeup-free!

I usually get my hair cut once a year, so this week I got an annual trim. I got a lot of hair chopped off because it’s been annoying me lately. I love the look of long hair, but if I don’t style it in the morning, it looks like crap. With my new hairstyle I don’t even have to BRUSH it in the morning and it looks good. *Angels singing*

This means using less styling products and focusing on more important things than my appearance. 🙂

I went to Great Clips and the cut cost $20 after tip. I usually wait for an $8 haircut coupon from them, but I was in desperate need of a change.

Also, if you go to Great Clips, make sure to do the online check-in. Otherwise  you’ll wait half an hour for a haircut.

Gardening

This weekend’s big accomplishment was the garden! Mr. Picky Pincher built five raised beds and shoveled in tons of dirt (with some help from Picky Nikki and myself).

We had extra dirt so we filled our old pots from our patio gardening days. We’ll fill them with tomatoes and peppers so we can make our own marinara and salsa. Ole!

Here’s a view of the completed five raised beds. Our master plan is to have ten, but we’ll see how we do with five during our first growing season. After just a week, our radishes and lettuce have already sprouted and are going strong.

We’re fans of highly functional space, so an expansive mass of green grass doesn’t make sense for our back yard.

I’m  having an issue with ants on our strawberries, so I’ll try to pour coffee grounds around the plants to deter them. Hopefully it works!

We went to our local nursery on Sunday afternoon and bought a peach tree, plum tree, blackberry vine, fig tree, aloe vera, and a magnolia tree. We still have space for one more fruit tree in our back yard, but we’ll pick one out another day. We decided to go with self-pollinating fruit trees and wanted to do our research before buying the final tree.

We plan to dig up the bushes near the house and build a trellis for the blackberry vine. I can’t wait until we can harvest fresh blackberries for pies. Ahhhh.

We want to know: How did you save money this week?


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