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February 23, 2012 / fivehundredeightysixsqft


This semester has started off to a crazy start. 19 credit hours may be a bit too much, but there’s no turning back now. So as I venture deep into the modes of stress and early mornings, many things have fallen to the wayside. Including my blog. Sorry guys. I also forgot to mention: WE WON AN AWARD!


During Feb. I went to a conference for the Iowa College Media Association, and my blog (this very own) won third place blog. I was pretty excited.

But more on my crazy semester. Part of my 19 credit hours, is a photography class. I’ve always liked photos but I was never really technical with it. I’m learning so much and I’m starting to save for the dslr of my dreams. You can follow my photography class adventures at: I’ll be updating this frequently for class, so it’s yet another way to keep up with my hectic life.

You can also see some of my crazy newspaper side at: Oh yeah, I make a newspaper too. Incase you didn’t know I like to keep busy. The website includes videos and every issue from this year.

Keep on keepin on blog.

February 7, 2012 / fivehundredeightysixsqft

French Onion S.S.

This soup Sunday was interrupted with the Superbowl, which was fine because we got plenty of other wonderful munchies. It got pushed back to today due to scheduling issues, but oh man was it worth it.

French onion soup has everything I love. It’s rich, it’s buttery: it just has that how do you say? je nes se qua.

My recipe was altered for my cheapness (I can’t afford gruyere cheese) but it turned out DELICIOUS.

My Ingredients included:

4 Medium Onions
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Stick of Butter
1 Carton Chicken Broth (approx. 4 cups)
1 Carton Beef Broth
1 Cup Chardonnay (I used a cheap cutler creek version)
1 Loaf French Bread

I began by cutting up my onions. I used 4 medium onions.

I cut them in medium slices: not too thick but not crazy thin. I used my lovely light-weight knife Kasjen’s mom got me for Christmas. It is by far the best knife I’ve ever had.

In my large soup pot I melted one stick (yes the whole stick). Then added my onions.

I cooked them over medium heat for about twenty minutes, stirring regularly.

After my onions were yellow and softened, I stuck them in my oven at 400 degrees for an hour. I know it sounds like forever, and with the smells that will be arousing your home, it is. I covered my pot with foil and stirred them periodically.

After a while they’ll start to look like this. It looks weird, but all the brownness is deliciousness. After a full hour of cooking in the stove I poured 1 cup of chardonnay in to de-glaze my pot and put it back on the stove for another 10 minutes to cook down the wine.

I know it looks like worms, but stick your head in the pot and breathe in. O.M.G. so good.

After the wine cooks down a bit I added one carton chicken broth and one carton beef broth.


I also added 3 cloves of garlic, then let it simmer for another half hour. I cut up some french bread and cooked it to croutons.

Then I put some cheese on it. Oh yeah, cheese. I used provolone but I don’t think there’s any bad kind of cheese, so use whatever you like.

Yep. It’s good. It’s rich and lovely. Hope you enjoy!


January 29, 2012 / fivehundredeightysixsqft

Soup Sundays

Kasjen and I have been dating for almost two years. To be honest, neither of us knows the exact date: I guess we’re just not the remembering type.

We wanted to start making some traditions of our own this year. We stumbled onto the idea of soup Sundays while grocery shopping. Kasjen swore he hated soup, especially hearty soups. I, on the other hand, could eat soup everyday. Although he put up a good fight, I ended up getting everything for cheesy broccoli soup. Kasjen quickly changed his mind about soup, and declared every Sunday until we die: SOUP SUNDAY.

The next week I took on a harder soup, chicken tortilla. It turned out fantastic.

Today I will be making creamy wild rice soup. Each week we alternate who chooses the soup. ((Chicken tortilla was my choice))

I love soup Sundays because it gives me at least one night a week where I know we can just hang out and enjoy a meal together. It can be as easy or as difficult as I choose. Soup can be a really cheap meal or as lavish I want. I can try a million different soups and never have to use the same soup twice. The options are endless.

This is a tradition I hope we can keep up with, because all week we’ve been talking about how excited we are for soup Sunday.


January 23, 2012 / fivehundredeightysixsqft

keeping up

Just a little update.

I am keeping my New Years Resolution of saving more, and have enrolled in my 401k and started a direct deposit of $20 out of each check into savings. While I know it isn’t a lot, it’s what I can do for now. So, yay for keeping resolutions.

If you would like to keep up with my happenings, I’ve been on pintrest constantly lately. You can follow me: 568sqft Pintrest. Since the roads are horrible here and no one likes to plow my parking lot, I have a feeling pintrest will see a lot of me.

Other than that, this week will be full of work, school, financial planning, and Mika.


a whole lot of mika.



January 20, 2012 / fivehundredeightysixsqft

Raspberry Russians

I’ve made this several different ways and they’re all good. Normally I use a regular white russian and add raspberry vodka. This was a night I was feeling slightly cheaper sooo…

The White Russian mix was on sale for $10. I can’t beat that making it normally but if this isn’t available to you, making a normal White Russian is super easy too.

  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 3/4 oz Kahlua
  • 3/4 oz milk

For the raspberry portion I added raspberry pucker. This brand if only around $5 in my area. I just added it all together and blended. (The glass was an idea of Kasjen’s to make it ‘more Russian.’)

Like I said before if you add a raspberry vodka (like raspberry smirnoff) it’s also very very good. I’ve had it both blended and over ice, either way it is delicious.

January 19, 2012 / fivehundredeightysixsqft

Cleaning tips

My apartment is not the cleanest. It has that nice ‘lived in’ look. However, I do believe in helpful tips that can make cleaning that much easier. While I was doing my daily news reading (this actually happens). I stumbled across some great cleaning tips from actual house cleaners.

The best way to dust blinds: Close them, then wipe up and down with an old dryer sheet. It’ll create an antistatic barrier that helps prevent dust from building up again.

The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is your friend. It will cut your cleaning time in half for bathtubs, sinks, countertops, and dirty walls.

To clean glass and mirrors, use coffee filters, not paper towels. They leave no streaks or lint — and they’re cheap.

Vinegar and water is a great deodorizer for a musty bathroom. Spray your shower down as you’re getting out. It really absorbs the odors, and the smell of vinegar goes away in an hour.

A wet pumice stone will clean a dirty oven faster than any spray-on product.

Vacuuming bathroom mats is a nightmare. Toss them in the wash every week or two instead.

To damp-mop wood floors, use plain water or a water-based floor cleaner like Bona. Don’t use vinegar. The acid in it will pit your polyurethane finish, can void your warranty, and may reduce shine over time.

Seventh Generation dish liquid diluted with water is a great nontoxic all-purpose cleanser. Just put two squirts in a spray bottle and fill it with water.

Our biggest secret weapon? A powdered product called Bar Keepers Friend ( We use it on everything. Its active ingredient is rhubarb powder, which really cuts through grit and grime. It cleans glass-top stoves, counters, toilets, porcelain and more. Your sink will never be shinier.

To clean your microwave oven, microwave a cup of water with some baking soda in it until it’s boiling. That eliminates odors and makes it super easy to wipe away all that stuck-on stuff.

Clean cobwebs with a yardstick covered by a tube sock. That also works for cleaning under stoves and refrigerators.

Shine your bathroom tiles with lemon oil. It also helps prevent mold and mildew.

To eliminate that ring in your toilet, drop in a bubbling denture tablet, and leave it for at least 30 minutes or overnight. The stain will come off with just a few swishes of the brush.

These are from a yahoo article. The only tips I’ve used are microwaving the water (I do it with dawn dish soap instead of baking soda) and using coffee filters on the windows. I am anxious to try a couple of these tips.

January 18, 2012 / fivehundredeightysixsqft

Let there be LIGHT!

My father is ungodly hard to buy for. For every holiday the past year or so, we’ve been replacing all the lighting in his house. The house is older and has outdated fixtures.

These were the bad boys that resided in the hallway. Madonna boob lights, and there were two of them. We decided to replace them with more normal boob lights….

Kasjen’s becoming a pro at installing lights ((BONUS)).

It was really easy up, easy down (especially for me, considering I was just cooking lunch).

He looks so excited to be replacing lighting…

TADA! A more supple set of hall lights. The total project only costed us around $50, including new energy efficient bulbs.

The lighting gifts all have included installation, and have been a huge hit. For his birthday this year he got a new ceiling fan…

He loves it, and it’s great practice when we have a place of our own. My next project is a chandelier that has the 70’s written all over it (not literally).