These days we all look for ways to save money while attempting to obtain the things we want or need. I grew up in a home where the search for discounts and bargains never ended. So it's no surprise that I buy clothes off the clearance racks and shop for sale items at the grocery store.
To save even more money, I choose to color my hair at home. The cost is under $10 - much less than one pays at a hair salon. I've been coloring my hair for about four years in an effort to keep the gray away.
One day when I went to purchase a package of hair coloring, the shade I had been using wasn't on the shelf. I went to two other stores in search of my favorite color. It wasn't to be found. I had to choose another color that came close to what I had been using. It was called dark blonde.
After coloring, rinsing and towel drying my hair as I had done so many times before, I looked in the mirror. "Holy crap," I exclaimed! Instead of a shade of blonde, my hair was dark brown. Very dark. Maybe it would appear lighter when dry. No such luck ... still dark brown and with red highlights. I was not happy.
The hair product I used is suppose to last through 28 shampoos. I wasted no time and immediately washed my hair using a clarifying shampoo. I repeated the process five more times. Didn't notice much of a change.
The following day I began shampooing my hair again - 25 more times! After drying my hair, it was still too dark and the red highlights remained. All I had to show for my effort was chapped hands.
Two choices came to mind - leave my hair as is or visit a hair salon. I picked up the phone and made an appointment at a salon where my niece, Kristen, is employed. Kristen could see me the following day.
I counted the hours until I found myself seated in a chair at the salon. Kristen said she would apply a product that would fade the brown and reduce the red, as well. All I thought was get 'er done! After about 1-1/2 hours, Kristen had made my wish come true. I was so thankful.
Not too many weeks from now, I'll once again be faced with having to color my hair. Sure hope I end up with the right shade, but I'm putting Kristen's number on speed dial ... just in case.
Before beginning my 'shampoo-a-thon' I prepared a dish that wouldn't require my attention. Slow cookers were invented for just such a purpose
PORK CHOPS WITH SAUERKRAUT
4 bone-in center-cut pork loin chops (about 8-oz. each)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 T. vegetable oil
2 (14-oz) cans sauerkraut, undrained
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 med. green bell pepper, sliced
1 med. onion, sliced
In a large skillet, brown chops in oil over med. heat for 4 to 5 min. on each side; season with a bit of pepper. Drain off fat.
In a 5-qt. slow cooker, combine kraut and brown sugar. Top with chops, green pepper and onion. Cover and cook on low for 3-1/2 to 4 hours.
Note: For a side dish, I cooked some egg noodles to which I added some butter and seasoned with pepper. The cooked kraut made for a tasty topping.
A delicious way to serve fresh or leftover ham
JUDY'S BAKED RIGATONI
1 (16-oz) pkg. rigatoni pasta
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
4 cups milk
Seasonings: onion salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, to taste
About 1/2-lb. thinly sliced ham, cut up
2 cups grated cheese (Italian blend)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Small pats of butter
Cook pasta just past the al-dente stage; just starting to get soft. Drain well.
While pasta is cooking, prepare the white sauce. In a large saucepan melt butter over med. heat, then whisk in flour. Add milk and continue to stir until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Add seasonings, ham and Italian blend cheese. Stir until cheese is melted. Add the cooked pasta. Pour mixture into a greased 9x13-in. baking dish. Smooth the top and then sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Dot with butter. Bake in a 425 oven for about 25 min. or until top is bubbly and brown.
Note: This makes a bad day so much better ... it has all my favorites; pasta, ham and cheese.
End the day on a sweet note
COCOA M&M COOKIES (Yield: 4 dozen)
1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, unsalted (softened)
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup M&M candies
In a small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. In a med. size bowl, beat together sugar, butter, egg and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and beat well. Stir in candies. Cover bowl and chill dough until firm. Roll into 1-inch balls, then roll balls in confectioners' sugar to coat. Bake on greased pan (about 2 inches apart) in a 350 oven for 10 to 12 min. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Note: No unsalted butter? Just cut back a little on the salt that is called for.
Food for Thought: Mistakes are just rehearsals for success.