Close but no cigar (yet, good enough)…

two women standing on grass field
Photo by willsantt on

Close but no cigar.  A classic phrase I heard way back during my Freshman year in High School.  I had never heard it before, and I don’t know why it made me laugh the way it did (probably because of the teacher who said it).  To me, this statement meant that things were close, yet not exact.  That was always ok.  I have a few things that to me are…close enough.

I like to entertain.  I like to make people’s birthdays special, and to celebrate special days.  Something that usually makes people smile is ice cream, and cake too.  What a perfect match when these two things are combined.  Purchasing an ice cream cake can be pricey, so why don’t you make your own?  The only part I’ve found difficult while doing this is clearing out a space in my freezer that is big enough, and flat enough.  I like to make ice cream cakes in a spring form cake pan.  You have to eye ball how much you think you’ll need to use.  I started off with two half gallons of ice cream, and let them soften.  I sprayed the bottom and sides of the pan with “butter spray.”  Then I spread the bottom layer (I think I used chocolate).  I smoothed it all out.  On top of this layer I spread crushed “Oreo” type cookies (processed in one of those small choppers).  Then on top of the crunchies I spread vanilla ice cream.  At this point, the finished product should go into the freezer in a flat, fairly spacious area.  Once the ice cream firms up a bit, you can add sprinkles or some kind of toppings for decoration.  When the cake is frozen, you can cover it with clear plastic wrap if you won’t be serving it soon.  Remove it from the spring form, and place on a serving platter.  It is SO good.  Of course, you can use whatever flavors of ice cream you want.  If you want to get creative, fancy – you can try more than the two layers.  Is this as good as a store bought ice cream cake?  Some may think it is not, yet some think it is better.  For me, I think it tastes good – and that makes it good enough.

I’m a thrift store shopper, as you know.  I buy many things in these stores.  I will take a chance on all different kinds of items.  I have bought clothing that I found to be very nice, yet very reasonable – even though some have labels that say “dry clean only.”  Some of these garments can be washed by hand or washed in your machine on the gentle cycle.  Then they need to be hung on hangers to dry.  It always pays to take a chance, especially if the item was purchased for a good price.  Of course, there are exceptions – like the gown I wore to my niece’s wedding.  That cost me more in dry cleaning fees than the dress itself did!  I bought a sports jacket for my middle son Kevin.  It was in very good condition, and really did fit him like a glove.  I sprayed it with a “Febreze-like” kind of solution, and fluffed it in the dryer (no heat) for about 10 minutes.  It came out crisp and almost new looking, and Kevin looked great at the wedding he wore it to.  The tricky part of this is the ironing.  You need to iron these items kind-of precisely.  It is always best to start with a low temperature and adjust up slowly if you think you need to.  I have always tried doing this, because I cannot see paying high prices to care for clothes that you got for a bargain.  Go slowly, go gently.  I think you’ll be happy with the results.  I almost always am happy.  I think my results are good enough.

When I was a child, I didn’t really care for mashed potatoes.  I do like them now.  I’m not really sure why I changed, but I did.  I will make them from scratch from time to time, but I really do like the instant ones.  I know, a lot of people shy away from them.  But you really can get them to taste pretty good.  At least I think so.  I usually add a little more milk in place of the water that the instructions suggest, and I will use butter (not margarine or spread).   Another advantage of these potatoes is that they cook really fast.  Once they are done (average time seems to be about five minutes), you can perk them up even more.  Using grilled onions (also made with butter) is a nice addition.  Cut up green onions or parsley adds a bit of taste, and also color.  Another delicious add in is bleu cheese.  You can make cheesy mashed potatoes by stirring in shredded cheese – cheddar is good, and if you want something with more kick, use shredded Monterey jack (with the little jalapeno flecks).  Jarred, roasted garlic is also good.  Use your imagination – add whatever you think might taste good.  I think these additions make instant mashed potatoes good enough.

I love Dunkin Donuts coffee.  I think it’s the best around.  I will make coffee at home, and I enjoy it – just not as much as the real, legit Dunkin.  The other day, I did something I used to do – to fake myself out, so to speak.  I had a cup from Dunkin that I (for some reason) had rinsed out and kept.  So, that morning I was going to an early doctor’s appointment, and since I am not a morning person really – I knew there wasn’t going to be time to stop at Dunkin (I don’t go there routinely, I go for special occasions, special times when I just HAVE to have it).  I made my morning coffee in the used cup from Dunkin, and went on my way to the appointment.  Driving there, drinking the coffee I made – it was good.  I really believe I psyched myself up however subconsciously to enjoy the coffee as much as if it was the real Dunkin.  It tasted delicious and it was good enough.  And it didn’t cost me $2.59 either.

You can make fried Chicken Tenders that don’t require the mess (and unhealthiness).  Prepare your tenders (or nuggets, if you want that shape) the way you would if you were going to deep fry them.  I dredge mine in flour, an egg wash and then through some bread crumbs.  I place them on a cookie sheet that is sprayed a bit with “butter spray” or I use parchment paper.  As each piece of chicken is done, I arrange them on the pan.  When every piece is done, you can drizzle some oil over the top of the chicken, and bake.  Depending on the size of the chicken pieces, they should be in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Keep your eyes on them, checking frequently because you don’t want them to burn.  This way to make fried chicken to me is good enough (and almost healthy – well, ok not really but…)

My last “good enough” is knock offs.  I like nice looking things, yet I am not really concerned about labels and names.  Though I do admit liking certain handbag lines and types of clothes.  Being a bargain hunter is who I am.  And because of that, I would rather have more in quantity than quality.  That is not to say I would only buy junk, because I wouldn’t and I don’t.  To me, it is more important that I have a pair of flats that look like Tom’s, a denim jacket that looks like it came from True Religion or a purse that looks like it could be a real, legit Michael Kors.  I like the styles, not the names.  Some might want one Coach bag instead of several no name ones – not me.  I do want to really keep scaling down the things I own.  Anything I have that does have a “name” was more than likely purchased at a thrift store, and if it looks like it should have a name, that’s great.  And it’s good enough for me.

What is good enough to you?

Published by lifeissmashingalways

58 year old Mom with three great sons, and SIX great cats and their wonderful Dad, Jeff... LISA is my name. Life Is Smashing Always comes from the letters in my name...

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