Sunday, May 31, 2009

Peach Crush

I am going through magazines (I have a thing for magazines) to cut out articles, recipes, crafts and such to save. I am going to try to pull a recipe a month from the file to try.

But anyway here is one I want to try this summer as we live in peach country. We even have a Peach Festival.

2 cups diced peaces, fresh or frozen, please added slices for garnish
2 cups crushed ice
2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar (depending on the sweetness of peaches)
1/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves, plus some for garnish
1 bottle sparkling white wine or sparkling apple cider, chilled

Place peaches, ice, sugar (use less or none if using cider), and basil leaves in the blender; puree until smooth. Pour pureed peaches into chilled glasses until half full. Add sparkling wine/cider. Serve garnished with basil sprig and a slice of peach.

The recipe is from the magazine (they don't have a paper version of the magazine anymore - it was a really good magazine - I just signed up for their free online magazine so will see how if that is just as good.)

**Great peach photo taken by Master here locally at a Peach Grove

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pinto Beans, Chicken Legs, and Strawberry Soup

Growing up we had Pinto Beans quite a bit. I hated them back then, but once I got older and moved away from home I found myself craving them upon occasion - not to mention wishing I knew how to make a cheap, easy, versatile dish. My dad gave me his recipe and told me it was "No fail"...of course I managed to somehow find the loophole in that. I'm a decent cook but for whatever reason simple Pinto Beans escaped me. Finally after trial and error (and browsing through many an online recipe) I succeeded! The dish was so delicious I decided to share it with you all in my first post around here...Hope you enjoy!

I served mine with Chicken legs, cornbread (Jiffy!) & A Strawberry dessert - but obviously you can do whatever your heart desires with yours...(Recipes are after the pictures)

Start out with a package of beans - mine was a little over 4 cups...a colander (for straining & searching for stowaway rocks)...Salt, Pepper, and Bacon or Salt Pork (the bacon/salt pork part is optional - but I would certainly recommend opting in!)

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Straining & Rock Searching...

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Beans in the pot with chopped up bacon...covered about 2 inches with water

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This is about 45 minutes to an hour in - it's also the stage where I always start to panic..."The juice is not going to thicken...IT'S NOT GOING TO THICKEN!(@*@)(! OMG *FLAIL*"

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But the little guys soldier on and lo and behold about an hour after that? Perfection.

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Chicken Ingredients...I used legs because that's what we had, but any type of chicken (or pork) will do.

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I cover my pan in foil because it's just so much easier to clean that way...Lay the onions on the bottom...

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Mix up the sauce (Again, Recipe is at the end) and dunk the chicken pieces. Swim little legs! Swim!

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Fit them in the pan like little puzzle pieces...& Stick 'em in the oven

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After a nice, warm vacation they'll look like this. Slightly browned - crispy skin...unless you remove the skin, in which case just...slightly browned.

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Strawberry Dessert time. Cast of Characters. Obviously you can use Sugar instead of Splenda...

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Rinse the Strawberries - as an aside if you keep one side of the sink filled with warm soapy water while you're cooking you can just toss everything you use in there one by one - keeps your kitchen cleaner & makes loading the dishwasher (or washing by hand) a breeze.

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Lop off their little green heads and throw into a food processor (or mixing bowl, or blender)

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Add the sweetener and give it a whirl...

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Once it's sweetened to taste - or almost to taste, add the cool whip (The cool whip adds more sugar, so it's better to under-sweeten with the sugar and then add more at the end if need be)

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I have a real sweet tooth, so after blending it all together I added more of both...I just love that color pink! Once you have it tasting like you want it, just pour it into dessert cups and stick it in the fridge or freezer until after dinner.

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...and the complete meal. I forgot to get a shot of dessert - so just use your imagination there (and if you can, imagine it really, really pretty because that'll make me feel less like a loser for forgetting the picture.)

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Click here for Chicken Hurry Recipe

The bean recipe is really too simple for words...


Bag of Beans
Bacon - a few slices will do, it's really up to how much or how little you like - you can also use Salt Pork
Salt & pepper


Rinse beans in a colander, and sort of pick through them to make sure no rocks or anything are mixed in. I don't know that I 100% believe the whole rock thing, I've never found anything in my bags but beans...of course now that I admit that, I'll have rocky pintos from here on out...

Some people like to fry the bacon in the pan before adding the beans, I just chop it up and toss it all in there together. Raw. Uncooked. I figure cooking it all together will let the flavors mingle and learn to really like each other. Bond, ya know?

Cover with water...actually, over cover with water - by about 2 inches or so. Keep checking the water level for the duration of cooking - at times you may need to add not let your beans dry out!

Here's where my Type A personality kicks in...I set a timer and check my beans every 15 minutes, give them a little stir, & check the water level - generally it takes anywhere from an hour and 45 minutes to 2 full hours to really thicken up and become perfect. I ♥ perfect.

At this point you add Salt & Pepper until your heart's content. If you over salt (this dish - or any dish, really) Toss in a raw potato and cook a little longer...the potato absorbs the excess salt. At least that's the theory...

I served these beans with chicken and cornbread...the next day I made nachos...the day after that I threw in some cooked ground beef and a jar of salsa & served with shredded cheese and Sour Cream. Versatility...another thing I ♥.


The Strawberry dessert is really simple too. I use my food processor, but I imagine you could smash them up or use a blender/mixer.

Just take a box of fresh strawberries (more if you're serving a crew), Rinse & cut off the green part...toss them with some sugar (or Splenda!)...the sugar part is totally a matter of personal taste, but keep in mind you'll also be adding Cool Whip, which is sweetened as well. Blend the strawberries and sugar, then mix in some cool whip. Easy Peasy. This can be plated in Parfait cups or pudding bowls for dessert - or served before the meal as Strawberry Soup. Delicious!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Favorites

S'More Cookie Bars - I have been on a S'more kick lately and these just did me in looking at them. Oh my!

Managing Servants - Not quite what the title implies but a good post on finding ways to make it easier on ourselves with modern day gadgets and appliances.

Cork Trivets - other uses - I just like the idea for Master in his home office but my studio too and the jewelry one also.

Fabric Covered Button - for magnets or thumb tacks

And this one just because with all the vampire/werewolf/creatures of the night type books I read it made me smile....ZOMBIES

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spirit and Attitude of Domestic Service

Dakrish asked: If any of you could write about the spirit of housekeeping and domestic service? There's stuff we can do, but without the right attitude it's just... empty. Perhaps someone could describe how you, yourself, go about finding that attitude?

I have to admit that I've found, particularly in the town where I live that not everyone understands my draw to domestic service, because they associate it with 'housework'... which for some can be a slippery slope to 'drudgery'. I've actually had to explain very bluntly that just because I am domestically inclined, it does not mean I necessarily want to come over to their house and do all their most loathed chores that they've neglected for the last 6 months.

I was not domestic growing up, and that carried into my early 20's. My idea of cooking was reheating leftovers from a restaurant. I'd do a weekly once-over to keep my place in order. And my house never felt like it was something I was proud of, or felt it was 'home'. But that changed as I started to think about the type of environment I wanted to create for myself, and what it meant for me to have a home.

My motivation is simple: I want to live well. This is true whether I am in service or on my own. My domesticity is not always inspired solely by the ones I serve. There are times when I do it for myself as much as I do it for someone else.

When I'm serving another, it's important for me to feel as though I am being useful, or making their life more comfortable or kept to their standards. I do it for them because that type of service is how I express my desires for them to be happy-- to feel cared for-- in their own home. The little touches are expressions of devotion to their comfort.

How I keep my home is a reflection of my values and what is important to me. It is a direct reflection of how I am feeling internally. That means I like to keep it uncluttered and clean, with lots of white space to breath and relax. I like to add thoughtful touches of comfort such as fresh flowers, clean linens on the softest bed I could find, well aired out rooms and a selection of favorite books and magazines in the guest room. I like the comfort of knowing my pantry is well stocked in case we have unexpected guests. I like coming into a peaceful, neat house after a rough day at work and feeling the unspoken invitation to relax and unwind.

It is my haven from the chaotic outside world. When I am in service, I like to be sure the home serves as their haven as well.

Order for me is serene. I like checklists and labellers and 'places for things'. It tweaks my little perfectionist in a good way to get everything organized and in order. I don't like unidentifiable containers of once-was-leftovers in the fridge. I dislike having to tear apart a room or house to find something-- or worse, making the owner wait while I dig around to find something.

I clean a little every day instead of letting it build up for the weekend-- it prevents it from being overwhelming and it's always ready for unexpected visitors. Spring cleaning is one of my favorite times of year-- I love the satisfaction of the deep clean. I clean thoroughly because I'm particular, but I don't like every single chore.

Some of them are exactly that: chores. I do them first to get them over with, and usually with an iPod in hand to distract me from the chore. Other tasks I enjoy immensely. There's a certain zen to gardening or bootblacking or setting a formal table-- or pairing the perfect wine with a specific meal. But my primary purpose is often not the task itself. I do it because the owner appreciates the end results (as do I!) and that appreciation is key.

I have found that generally the people I have served have allowed me to indulge my preference for certain domestic touches, provided it does not interfere with serving them in the ways they want. So in service, those expressions may be different- it may involve less 'fresh flowers' and 'scented candles', and more 'leather care' and 'turning down the bed', but the overall motivation is the same.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


May 18 through May 24
Monday - brats with baked beans and salad*
Tuesday - baked potatoes with cheese and steamed veggies and salad
Wednesday - leg quarters (with a bourbon peppercorn marinade) in the crockpot served with steamed green beans with roasted red pepper and salad
Thursday - burritos and salad
Friday - Pasta shells stuffed with basil, garlic, ricotta cheese and spinach with a meat sauce over them - served with garlic toast and salad
Saturday - left overs
Sunday - grilled chicken that I sliced and put on big salads

May 25 - May 31
Monday - hamburgers on the grill and potato salad and bean salad
Tuesday - bbq chicken to have with the rest of the potato salad and bean salad
Wednesday - fried rice and crab ragoon Went on a date so had dinner out
Thursday - kabobs (chicken and assorted veggies - probably a marinade with pineapple juice) and salad
Friday - left overs fried rice and crab ragoon
Saturday - pizza and salad left overs
Sunday - roasted chicken with veggies and homemade bread homemade biscuits

* Whenever I say salad I just mean a green salad. We get the big container of Organic Spring Mix Salad from Sam's. It will last us a week if we only have salad once for lunch and every night with dinner. I put add whatever other veggie I have around to it - peppers, carrot, pea pods or frozen peas, tomatoes, onion and then croutons I make with stale bread.

EDITED June 2: As always menus change and so I edited it above to reflect the menu we ended up with

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spirit and Attitude of Domestic Service

Dakrish asked: If any of you could write about the spirit of housekeeping and domestic service? There's stuff we can do, but without the right attitude it's just... empty. Perhaps someone could describe how you, yourself, go about finding that attitude?

"The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest." ~ Thomas Moore

I know I get much of my attitudes on homemaking (that I apply to my domestic service) from my Mom. Although she isn't a slave she just really wanted our home to be a haven for our family and all that entered it. My Mom has almost always worked a full time job and I know she struggled to juggled it all. She would have enjoyed being a full-time homemaker. She just has this spirit that you see in her home. The food she prepares, the flowers on the table, the candle burning in the living room, the light in the window on for when you arrive late at night and in so many other little touches throughout the house. They all made people feel welcome in our home.

My Mom would clean on Saturdays because she worked during the week. She did light cleaning throughout the week often. But the deep cleaning came on Saturday. And you would smell the vinegar (as her main cleaning supply is vinegar), hear music coming from the turn table (yes back in that time of record albums) and my Mom singing along with it and see the light streaming through all the open windows as she aired the house out. It felt good to wake up that way. It felt good to see the light in the house not only from the open windows but the light that came with the cleaning.

Oddly enough when I was a very little girl, I dreamed of growing up and being a big city girl and the idea of hearth and home were far far away from me. It didn't sound appealing. It wasn't until I was out on my own that the ideas of hearth and home called to me. I took many of those things my Mom did and applied them to my own home. I opened windows to air out the house, I bought a bouquet of flowers just because and arranged them on the dining room table, I had little pretty soaps and towels out for guest in the bathroom, I served cookies on pretty plates and just tried to make my home a warm and welcoming place for all that entered.

There was a time in my life though where I stopped enjoying it. And eventually stopped trying. I did what I had to clean. But I didn't create a warm happy home because it wasn't a happy home for me. So I stopped really doing all things that had at one time made me feel so good but instead made me feel angry, sad and resentful. I really was fearful if I would ever like to do anything domestic ever again.

When I first became Master's property and the possibility of me being a stay-at-home slave came up, it made me nervous. I mean I had done that before and enjoyed it but I also had come from my not-so-happy domestic situation so that dark cloud was making me nervous I couldn't do it again. But I surprised myself. Soon Master's house was organized and cleaned in ways I don't think he ever thought about. He enjoyed it. And I did too. I enjoyed seeing that whatever I had done that day while he was at work was now helping him at home. Be it just be able to relax more knowing I took care of cleaning the toilet, changing the sheets, making dinner and all the other chores or be it that I organized his home office and the many other areas throughout the house so that they worked better for him.

He encouraged me to explore and expand on all things domestic. And it was seeing how it he enjoyed it and how things I did often it helped him that really caused me to enjoy it. Yes some days it was just cleaning the toilet. But at the end of the day the whole of what I did I knew helped him relax and have a nice haven to come home to after a long stressful day at work. So when I woke up in the morning, thinking I really don't want to do laundry today, I would remember that it helped his life. And although I might trudge through it - that I did it - was that all that mattered at the end of the day.

Two years ago Master started his own business that took him from working outside his home to working from home. And his business also requires my help. So I have lost some of my focus that I had before. I don't know how people that work outside the home do it all. But I truly admire them.

So I do have a lack of focus a lot and sometimes it is just faking it until I make it. It does feel empty at times but eventually I feel that spark of what is about for me - Him. I pay attention to the task in front of me instead of thinking about other things. To be in the moment. It isn’t easy but I remind myself that what I am doing helps him. And often I have to remind myself that several times but again in the end it is doing what I can to enhance his life. Sometimes it is easy and sometimes it is hard work. But I don't want to give it up. In the big picture, I enjoy enhancing his life in any way I can but I do get a sense of accomplishment in serving him through domestic service.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Favorites

Potato Salad with Country Ranch Dressing - Memorial Day is usually when I make potato salad for the first time during the spring/summer. This recipe looks especially good to me.

Review of a book Sew What!Skirts - with my re-newed interest in sewing - I believe this will be a read eventually.

And to kind of go along with the last one....
How-to Hand-Sew a Blind Hem - making clothes last a little longer

Ikea Hacker - taking Ikea furniture and making them into something else something better hopefully in most cases.

Glossary of Wine Pronunciation - something I have trouble with so a much needed link as Master and I enjoy wine

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Food Prep

I have a food-prep day about once a month. Yesterday was that day for me.

I made breakfast burritos, browned and seasoned 2 lbs ground burger (divided into packages also), made 2 packages of hamburger patties (one bourbon peppercorn and the other mesquite), put marinade in ziplocks with pieces of chicken, cut up and froze veggies, made croutons and browned some Italian sausage (divided into packages to use on pizza, in pasta and to add to baked beans for added kick).

The freezer looks a bit stuffed at the moment.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gardening Links

I don't garden. Not because I don't want to, I do. I have really bad allergies. And I am slightly allergic to the sun. So I just know that I wouldn't be able to upkeep it properly and it is unfair to let it slip to Master for upkeep when he having a garden isn't his thing.

Long long time ago when I lived in Kansas, I had flower gardens (before developing a sun allergy). And I loved having the flowers. We had a porch that had hanging pots that draped down. Rose bushes that surrounded our house. Several flowerbeds filled with all sorts of brightly colored flowers. I had flowers from spring to fall. It was a happy time making bouquets out of flowers from my garden. So yes I miss it but I know right now isn't the time for me.

But it doesn't stop me from looking at gardening magazines, links and such....

Just passing on a couple of ways to do do gardening a little less expensively...

Cheap or Free Garden Gear

25 No Cost or Low Cost Tools - has some of the same things as the above link but does add a few others to it.

Weekend Gardener

Garden Guide

Container Garden Guide - which I do think about being maybe a possible solution for me - just having a couple containers. Gardening

USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

And just because it is pretty to look at....
New York Botanical Garden

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Favorites

Ginger Orange Brownies with Ganache Topping - Okay ginger? orange? and ganache topping? Yum! The brownies use oat flour which is just running oats through the food processor.

Saving in Style - this is to go along with the next link. Just a cute little craft to help organize coupons.

15 days of Couponing - she is up to 13 days. But some good advice for those who want to start using coupons. Or even some new tips for those of us that already do.

Spring Decorating, Projects and Ideas all around the House - For me with spring cleaning comes changing things up around the house. Changing out warm fall/wintery scented candles to more light and fruity scented candles - pillows from dark colors to a lighter shades - just making things more light and ready for spring and summer. gives quite a few links to change things up.

Living ETC Gallery - I just enjoy looking through the pictures to get ideas for decorating, to put on the wish list for future house and to find alternative ways to deal with problem areas.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dandelion Massage Oil

Master works a physically demanding job and has for most of his life which means he has a touch of arthritis and gets sore from time to time. One of my duties is to massage away that soreness as much as possible. I think we've tried every massage oil and muscle cream on the market with varying degrees of success. Some of those oils can be mighty expensive too. Last year I read that dandelion infused oil was especially helpful for folks suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and figured that since Master wasn't that bad off, perhaps it could help him too.

Master likes the oil says it has pleasant sensation and an aroma he finds pleasing. I find that I enjoy it on my fingers and wrists too when I'm doing the massaging. Besides the obvious massage benefits it couldn't be easier to make and is incredibly cheap.

To make your own dandelion infused oil you'll need:
  • A Quart Glass jar (wide mouth is easier but not necessary)
  • Vegetable Oil (plain veggie works well, but you could use almond or olive oil)
  • Dandelions
  • Muslin or Cheesecloth
  • Rubber band
Wash your jar thoroughly and let it dry. Once dry fill the jar half full with just the yellow flowers of the dandelions. Just cover the dandelions with the oil and push the flowers down into the oil using a chopstick or a wooden spoon. Cover the jar with the muslin and secure it with a rubber band. Place the jar in a sunny window and leave it for about a month.

At the end of the month the flowers will be brown, but that's ok. Strain the oil and toss out the dandelions. Pour the strained oil into a nice bottle and voila your own homemade therapeutic massage oil.

I think this would make a great gift too for folks who have problems with arthritis or other joint problems.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Favorites

Three Cream Sauces for Pizza; Pesto Cream, Garlic Cream, & Alfredo - really versatile sauces. I have done similar sauces but to cut down on the fat have used fat free half and half. Of course it tastes different but is still a very good tasting sauce.

Pintuck Pillow - very pretty!

Emily Post Institute - Table Settings - guide for setting a basic, informal or formal table - easy to follow instructions.

16 Household Storage Solutions - I am going through some reorganizing and so some of these really helped give me some ideas on maximizing space.

Home Ec 101 - clean it, cook it, fix it, wash it, read it

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Stuffing Your Boobs!

No no, put your box of kleenex down. This isn't a lesson on stuffing your bra (maybe later though, huh?!). But I do have recipes for spicing up plain old chicken breasts by stuffing the heck out of them.

The possible ingredients for stuffing your boobs are almost endless and the process doesn't change much. You just smash, stuff, roll, and bake! Easy-peezy-lemon-squeazy!

First, prepare your chicken breasts. One way to get super moist chicken is to brine it before cooking. To make enough brine for 4 chicken breasts, combine about 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of sugar (white or brown) and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt. Let thawed chicken soak for about an hour in the fridge. I have made these without brining and it's still good, though.

To try and keep my work space as clean as possible, I avoid splattering raw chicken juices around the kitchen by wrapping the thawed breasts in saran wrap that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. The spray prevents the plastic wrap from sticking to the chicken while you pound it, while the plastic wrap contains most of the juices.

Lay them on the counter and pound the bejesus out of it with a meat mallet. If you don't have a meat mallet, try using a can of vegetables or the bottom of a large heavy glass. This is the most therapeutic part, btw- the chicken breast mangling. Take out all of your frustrations. Just don't take out so many frustrations that your breasts begin to disintegrate and fall apart as that makes the stuffing and rolling part difficult (but darn it sure felt good!). You want them flat and uniform in thickness for even cooking.

Take your newly flattened breasts and trim off the undesirable parts, if you want. This part is entirely optional, but I like to snip off all those dangly white pieces because I don't really know what they are.

Lay the breast flat on a plate, and spoon in your desired stuffing ingredients. Roll the chicken breast up like a jelly roll and secure it with toothpicks. At this point, depending on what your stuffing is, you'll dip it in melted butter and roll in bread crumbs or pour a creamy soup over them or something.

Place seam side down in a baking pan and bake at 350F for about an hour. Or 400F for 30 minutes. Or whatever time and temp you think will cook your chicken the best. It really depends on how flat you've made your chicken and how thick your rolls are. Use a meat thermometer (165F) or cook until the chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Some chicken stuffing ideas:

Mozarella cheese and asparagus, with pasta and alfredo sauce. This is a personal favorite of ours.

For a serving of four, mix 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese with 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or your seasoning of choice) and sprinkle this over your flattened breasts.

Boil the asparagus for just one minute and then lay one or two stalks on your chicken.

Add cheese. I find that using cheese sticks works really well. One cheese stick per chicken breast is the perfect amount of cheese, but I've also used cubed and shredded.

Roll it up, secure it, dip in beaten egg and roll in seasoned bread crumbs. Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes. After baking, pour warm alfredo sauce over chicken, serve with pasta. Yum.


Mushrooms and Meunster cheese.

Stove-top stuffing.

Broccoli and cheddar.

Spinach, mushrooms and cheese.

Ham and swiss (chicken cordon bleu).

A crabmeat/cream cheese mixture.



My son recently asked for mashed potato and corn stuffed chicken. I haven't tried it yet but I think it would be awesome. Maybe topped with a can of cream of chicken soup to make a gravy? Nom!

To retain moisture, just make sure you've either dipped the rolls in egg/melted butter and rolled in crumbs or have poured some sort of soup/gravy over them. Otherwise, I think they would be dry and bland. But your stuffing/gravy/seasoning combinations are only limited by your tastebuds and imagination.

But doesn't it look so good?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Practical Books

Over on FetLife I answered a thread on books that helped in serving so I thought I would share my answer here. I also started a similar thread on the Domestic Servitude group on FetLife.

My most cherished book is - Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House by Cheryl Mendelson. Mine looks like it is also as I have used it so much.

It has everything in it: How to do all basic sewing stitches. How to iron a dress shirt and fold sheets. How to make up a bed with hospital corners. How to choose proper sizes for sheets, tablecloths, and other household linens. How to set the table for informal and formal meals. Expert recommendations for safe food storage. The most exhaustive and reliable information on fabrics, textile fibers, and their laundering, and drying. A thorough explanation of care labels and why and how you should often (carefully) disregard them. Housekeeping guidelines for people with pets or with allergies. What to do about dust mites. How to clean and care for wood, china and crystal, jewelry, ceramic tile, metals, and more. Guides to stain and spot removal. It is a great book for a domestic service.

A few of my other favorites: Handbook for Hosts: A Practical Guide to Party Planning and Gracious Entertaining By Adam Bluestein, The Editors of Town & Country - It is a good go-to-book on entertaining. It an easy to read quick reference guide when throwing a party. It is has helpful ideas on a preparing your food, table and home, being a good host, entertaining over night guests and also about being a good guest in someone else's home

New Book of Table Settings By Chris Bryant, Paige Gilchrist - This book is for modern times when potlucks, buffets, friends over to watch a movie is common. It gives you ideas that work for many types of settings. Many ideas in the book use things you find around your house or easy to make. Pretty formal tables as well as casual tapas after work.

Emily Post's Etiquette - I think it is a thorough general book to have on hand. Also because Master has come to me and asked how to handle situations of etiquette from a male perspective - How to Be a Gentleman: A Timely Guide to Timeless Manners By John Bridges or there is another one by Emily Post's son - Peter Post about the same topics.

The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson - This book has really great recipes. But also if you are a beginner baker or someone who doesn't have a lot of time to bake - this book is for you. It is so detailed on the steps of the recipes. It gives you step by step instructions for a variety of methods such as hand mixing or mixer stand.

The Bread Lover's Bread Machine Cookbook By Beth Hensperger - If you have a bread machine or are thinking of getting one this book is like a bible for Bread Machines. I wish I would have had it when I first got my bread machine as it just has great trouble shooting tips for baking. Even for me living in high altitude. The recipes are so versatile too.

There are many good books on wine, entertaining, cleaning naturally, coffee/tea, massage, personal care, cooking and so on. Just do a search at your local library on those subjects and it is sure to bring up many books. The library is a great inexpensive resource even in this day and age of the internet.

As Sir Stephen mentioned some books on spirituality in the thread on Service Oriented Slaves, I have books that are similar that have helped me. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz - those agreements fit well for the relationship I am in - Owner/property. And really every relationship but I really could relate it back to my relationship with Master. Books on Buddhism have helped me immensely about meditation finding my center and focus. And actually more importantly it has helped me on acceptance of my life as sometimes as much as I want to be a slave - accepting what that actually means day to day can be a harder pill to swallow. The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle did a similar thing also - about learning to accept life and the things that come at you in unexpected ways. That the world is not ending if I can't do something perfectly - a lot of help on letting go of control - knowing I can't control everything and that is okay. I so want to do everything I can for Master - that I sometimes lose sight with the fact that I am only human and one person. That book helped remind me of that fact and to allow me to accept the moment as is.

So what books do count as practical books for serving? Or if you are on the top-side of the equation what books do you like those serving you to read?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Cinco de Mayo

It is going to be Cinco de Mayo in a couple days and I thought I would share a few good links to create a festive mood and delicious recipes. Master is going to be out of town so this year won't be much of a celebration with just me...well the cats are here but not sure they want Chicken Enchiladas and a margarita. I hope to at least make a few recipes I came across in the near future as we love Mexican food and I make it about once a week.

First though please know it isn't Mexican Independence day so learn about the origins of Cinco de Mayo:,,

For decorating I always think of a string of chili lights, sombreros, making a chili pepper wreath, brightly colored Mexican blankets and a center piece of bright orange, purplish, hot pink and yellow zinnias, and dahlias. Such as this display from Martha Stewart. Or just make brightly colored tissue paper flowers.

How To Make A Tissue Paper Flower -- powered by

More crafts for decorations:
Mexican folk art of paper-cutting - to make into banners
Mexican Flag Pinata or this one by Martha Stewart
Mexican Dancing Clothes Pin Dolls - which would be really cute on a table and if doing a party - use them as place cards - by attaching a little tag to the "hands". Or if you are having a buffet use them in the same way but to tell your guest what each dish is or just hold a menu.
Metal cut-outs and punched tin napkin rings
Paper Flowers by Martha Stewart - I like how they are round and could be hung
Crepe Paper Mexican Flag
Make a canvas rug/table covering/table runner to look like a Mexican blanket


First some that I really think look good that I want to make...
Chicken Enchiladas Verdes
Chicken Tostadas
Turkey Nachos - this is pretty much how I make my nachos most of the time even if I use seasoned ground beef/turkey or roasted chicken. Sometimes I substitute the black beans for refried or pinto just depending on what I have around or what sounds best
Chicken Enchiladas with Roasted Tomatillos
Margarita Cake by Betty Crocker

And then some links that have a good overview of Mexican recipes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo...
Food Network Cinco de Mayo Recipes
Food Network Salsa Recipes Cinco de Mayo Recipe Collection
Food Network Margarita Recipes
Kraft Foods Cinco de Mayo Recipes
Epicurious Cinco de Mayo Complete Package Recipes
Taste of Home Cinco de Mayo Recipes
Mexican Recipes by Martha Stewart

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Favorites

Roasted Chickpea Snack - Sounds good to me - healthy and easy!

Quilt-Along - It has step by step instructions that are broken down into little segments. I have always wanted to make a quilt but been scared. I just picked up a basic sewing book again to get back into sewing so one day maybe I will be able to try quilting. I love the colors of the quilt in the first picture.

A little suga for the tootsies - I actually think I will have a whole post on homemade scrubs and salts at some point. But for now this is a good basic recipe with many ingredients right in your home at the moment.

Handmade Reusable Produce Bags - What a great idea! Now I am sure these could be made easily too. But the thought of buying a handmade product from someone verses something not as eco-friendly at Wal-mart makes me feel better.

Hints, Tips and Things - Now I think this site could be invaluable to many of us. You click on the room and then it has things you might need for that subject such as click on the office and it has currency converter, computer and printer terminology and so on. If you click on the workshop it has calculators for construction materials such as bricks, mortar, plaster and so on. If you click on the kitchen, it has links to tell you how to clean an oven, how to cook a great steak and so on. Just so many good things all in one site.


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