Friday, December 31, 2010

megasimple 2010 Final Post

I made it.  My goal was to blog for a year. Often times my ideas can be short lived, but this one lasted.  Blogging keeps me interested in learning new things.  Thanks to all my readers and commenters! I love hearing that you tried something I posted and liked it or found it useful!

I’m really looking forward to 2011. I’m working on publishing in a new format and although I don’t have it ready to roll out for the New Year, I’m super motivated to get it done.  I’m going to continue trying to keep things megasimple while adding some new post ideas too.  


Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Megasimple 2010 Wrap Up Week {Post 4}

This week I’m going to be wrapping up 2010 by re-posting 4 of my most read posts followed up with a megasimple “year in review” post on Friday.  This will give me some time plan and gear up for megasimple 2011!  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. See you back here Jan. 3rd!

Stimmel’s Market

{reposted from 3/3/2010}

sign_thumb2hours_thumb2Two of my colleagues recently told me about Stimmel’s Market in Napoleon, Ohio. We made our first, of what I’m sure will become many stops.deli_thumb4    wine_thumb15 This market specializes in beers and wines and hosts a deli and bar as well.
delimenu_thumb10The deli menu is written on chalkboards; always a good sign. We ordered a jalapeno cheese dip/chips appetizer.  Fully expecting a hot dip, we were skeptical upon it's arrival, but soon pleasantly surprised that that this dip was served cold.  The kick from the jalapenos was balanced by the cool temperature and likely would have been too spicy for me if heated.  It’s a definite recommendation. We shared the Erie and Riverview, two vegetarian sandwiches and neither disappointed. 
stimmels2Be sure to become a fan of Stimmel’s on Facebook. They faithfully update their soups of the day. Rumor has it the lobster bisque is A…mazing!

KimberlyBischoff1Much to my surprise, this Saturday afternoon adventure proved to satisfy two of my goals for this blog: explore/appreciate what the Midwest has to offer and meet new people.   We were talking with our server, Kimberly Bischoff, only to find that she is a fellow blogger.  Kimberly is one of only five women participating in “The Happiness Project” with Woman’s Day magazine!  She will be posting on the Women’s Day Happiness blog all year long.  Check out the happiness project here and read all of Kimberly’s posts here.   Leave her a comment to show your Midwest support!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Megasimple 2010 Wrap Up Week {Post 3}

This week I’m going to be wrapping up 2010 by re-posting 4 of my most read posts followed up with a megasimple “year in review” post on Friday.  This will give me some time plan and gear up for megasimple 2011!  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. See you back here Jan. 3rd!

Piada – A Restaurant Review

{reposted from 09/07/2010}

I love an extra long weekend and ours started early. We left on Thursday for a quick overnight trip to Columbus to attend the Ohio State Buckeyes opening football game. Included on the agenda was a trip to Piada, a new Columbus restaurant that my sister, Morgan, has been raving about.webphoto_thumb2 
Saturday we visited Piada for lunch. It is an Italian Street Food restaurant that can be compared to Chipotle in regards to ordering procedure and complete freshness of ingredients, but it definitely has its own original and authentic Italian twist.  The menu is quite self explanatory and takes you through the 5 step ordering process.


A piada, also called a piadina, is a wrap-like sandwich built on thin-crust, stone-cooked dough that is stuffed with pastas, meats, cheeses, sauce and vegetables. The chef created my Piada to my own liking with angel hair, chicken, pesto, lettuce and tomatoes. My piada was generously stuffed with the perfect blend of my favorite ingredients. I also had a cheese Piada stick with a parmesan dipping sauce. It was light and crisp and my only regret was that I didn’t bring some home.  Piada’s food quality did not disappoint; tasting equally as healthy and fresh as it looked.46405_147174351983214_13723052964426[1] The interior was modern yet comfortable with a mixture of brick, wood, stainless steel and classic signage that pulled it all together. 
Fresh, fast, affordable and unlike any of our other routine Columbus stops, I highly recommend you give it a try.  
(Photos/menu from the Piada website and face book page)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Megasimple 2010 Wrap Up Week {Post 2}

This week I’m going to be wrapping up 2010 by re-posting 4 of my most read posts followed up with a megasimple “year in review” post on Friday.  This will give me some time plan and gear up for megasimple 2011!  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. See you back here Jan. 3rd!

Red Rambler

{reposted from 12/6/2010}

Recently we’ve been spending some early Saturday mornings enjoying some super good coffee at Red Rambler in Wauseon.  We’ve gotten to know the owner, Jo Michelson and she let us come early this week to get some pictures of the shop before it opened.
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The large cup is a double mocha, my favorite!
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They roast their own beans at Red Rambler!
You can purchase coffee beans to grind at home or they’ll grind them for you at the shop before you leave. You can order coffee online here.
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These gift packages are perfect for anyone who enjoys a good cup of coffee.
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What better to go with a cup of coffee than a Stella Leona Artisan Bar?! 
Jo turned her passion into her profession and is living her dream of owning a coffee shop and it’s been great getting to know her. Red Rambler is in Wauseon, OH, but you can also get their coffee at Stimmel’s Market in Napoleon, Stella Leona in Pettisville, Stella Blue in Archbold, Coffee Gallery in Waterville, Sutton's Deli in Angola, IN and the new Sullivan's in downtown Wauseon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Megasimple 2010 Wrap Up Week {Post 1}

This week I’m going to be wrapping up 2010 by re-posting 4 of my most read posts followed up with a megasimple “year in review” post on Friday.  This will give me some time plan and gear up for megasimple 2011!  Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. See you back here Jan. 3rd!

Dominican Habichuelas

{reposted from 2/29/2010}

A couple of weeks ago, as we brainstormed possibilities for meatless Lenten meals, Kent recalled a dish that he had eaten everyday for three months in the Dominican Republic.  Since giving up meat for Lent, Dominican Habichuelas have become a staple in our house. On Kent’s last day in the small village, he skipped work and stayed home with his Dominican mom so he could learn how to make habichuelas.
DRphoto2_thumb2 The picture above is the kitchen where Kent learned to cook this meal.  Notice the tiny stove top/oven his mom, brother and sister are standing next to.
oldrecipe_thumb8Kent said, “I think I still have that recipe somewhere.”  I thought to myself…We have trouble locating a recipe we printed last week let alone finding one you wrote down 18 years ago while in the D.R.  Kent left the room and to my complete amazement, no more than 3 minutes later, he returned with the recipe in hand. This was for a single serving that his mom made that day.  Undoubtedly, this recipe will live on in our repertoire of favorites beyond the Lenten season. 
IMG_1521_thumb10 Ingredients: Pinto Beans, tomato paste, water, vinegar, white rice, sazon seasoning (a general Mexican seasoning mix that includes cilantro, achiote, garlic, salt), garlic and olive oil.
0224104_thumb2Drain and Rinse a large can of pinto beans.  Add 8 c. water, beans and 4T. olive oil to a large stock pot.  Boil until the beans are soft begin to crack open.
0224108_thumb8 The water will be cloudy and some of the beans will be cracked.
IMG_1543_thumb11To the stock pot  add 1.5 T. vinegar, 4T. tomato paste, 4.5t. minced garlic, 2 1/2T. of Sazon (depending on your seasoning preference) and bring back up to a boil for 30 minutes.  This is when we start to make the white rice.  We make 2c. dry rice.  Follow directions on the bag.
02241014_thumb2 After 30 minutes to liquid will have reduced down further and turned a deeper red color.  IMG_1544_thumb11 Cilantro makes a perfect garnish, but isn’t necessary.  I like to add a little sour cream on top of mine and eat it with a warm tortilla shell.  We mix the leftover rice and beans together and store for leftovers.  This reheats very well.  This meal is megasimple and megafrugal.  We estimated this makes 4-6 servings for under 3.00!

Friday, December 24, 2010

2010 Christmas Card

This is our 2010 Christmas Card that we designed together. I think it’s a simple way to personalize a card if you aren’t up for sending a picture. Here is a megasimple tip that we learned the hard way…a 5x5 card can’t be sent with one 44 cent stamp.  It costs more because it is square and can’t go through the automatic reader.  That explains why our Christmas cards had a really beautiful Christmas stamp along with two other stamps (A ram stamp and a red, white an blue star stamp) that totaled 64 cents. 

Front  Inside Right
I’ll be back on Monday to start a 2010 megasimple wrap up week. Have a wonderful holiday weekend. Wishing you the best of the season! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Etsy {6} Wooly Baby


Wooly Baby makes slippers from recycled sweaters. I bought these for my niece for Christmas and I think they will look very sweet on her.

I’m finishing up some Christmas projects today and am hoping to post at least one more time later this afternoon, but we will see.  Update…I won’t be getting another post up here today, but these slippers just arrived in the mail and they are super soft and even cuter in person. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hot and Spicy Snack Mix

The Hot and Spicy Chex mix is back because it was such a huge hit last year!  Sammy and Wil stopped by this weekend to make a batch to give as gifts.  This is another megasimple recipe that is very kid friendly and can be completed in about 15 minutes. There is no measuring and everything is dumped into a garbage bag for mixing. Sammy did most of the work and Wil taste tested everything that Sammy dumped in the bag. Wil was intrigued and said, "WOW” every time Sammy added a new ingredient.

This year, they plan to bag the snack mix in baggies (because it is oily) then place them in brown paper bags. They will tie the card above to the bag with a Christmas ribbon to give as gifts to special people in their lives.

Just a few more pictures because I love these little guys.
We love having Sam, Sammy, Emily and Wil over for projects.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wifetastic {3} You say Bokeh, I say Booyah.

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{A} Wifetastic photography conversation…

Me – “Keeeeeeent?” (that’s me yelling toward the den where Kent works on his photography from my spot on the couch where I work on my blog).

Kent – “Whaaaaaat?”

Me – “I want to blog about the Stella Leona ornaments will you take some pictures?”

Kent – “Yeah.”

Me - “Can you make sure you get the booyah effect with the lights?”

Kent - (trying not to laugh) “You mean bokeh.” 

Me - “Yeah, that’s what I said. Can you get the bokeh effect?” 

Kent - “No, you said boooooyah effect. Bahahaha.”

Me- “Whatever…just take the picture.”

{B} Ironic Origin

I asked Kent to write a brief tutorial and show some examples of Bokeh. For whatever reason while he did some research for this tutorial he looked up the origin of the word bokeh and found the following . . .

The origin of the term is from the Japanese word Bokeh and Background Blur which in romaji (english characters) is spelled "boke" ( pronounced bo-keh) and which means "fuzzy", but usually in the sense of "touched in the head" or "senile". It can also be used to describe someone who says stupid things, or makes silly mistakes.” – from

{C} Finally, the Bokeh (as in “photography effect”) tutorial.
Bokeh refers to the rounded light circles in the background area in some photographs that are out of focus.  It is produced, often times on purpose by photographers, using a shallow depth of field or larger aperture on the lens. IMG_3626
Checkout a Bokeh tutorial by The Pioneer Woman here along with reader submitted Holiday bokeh pictures here and here. They are amazing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Mini Dessert {1}…for kids.

I’m easing into this mini dessert thing in a super megasimple and frugal way.  I wanted to make a dessert that my niece and nephews might enjoy this holiday season.  This is simply red and green layered jello with fresh whipped cream on top. 
These particular mini dessert dishes I picked up at a Goodwill for 25 cents each. 

2 small boxes of strawberry jello
2 small boxes of lime jello
1. Prepare one box strawberry jello per box instructions. 
2. Fill each dessert cup with 1 oz. of jello. 
3. Place in refrigerator until set. 
4. Make 1 box of lime jello per box instructions. After mixing, let it cool for a couple of minutes so it doesn’t melt the previous layer.
5. Fill each dessert cup with 1 oz. of lime jello.
6. Return to refrigerator until set. 
7.–12. Repeat steps 1-6 again until you have 4 layers.
13. Add a dollop of fresh whipped cream and serve.
Makes Approximately 17-18 4oz servings. IMG_3737
My taste testers approved.  Sammy said, “Wow, it’s a pattern!”.  When he was almost finished I said to him, “Does this get a thumbs up or thumbs down?” He said, “Aunt Meg, I don’t like it.(pause) I LOVE it!”  He was also very curious about how I layered the jelly (as he kept calling it) and asked if we could make it together sometime.