Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Favorites

5 Ways to Get Yourself Motivated to Clean - I will say that I have used a few of these before.

How I cut my Grocery Bill by 75% - I think it has some really good ideas. And good ideas that don't do everything at once. The planning your menu backwards - I have done many times. It is a good one when trying to save money because buying a deal and then cooking from it instead of planning a menu that doesn't use anything that is one sale.

Gardening Guides - now that spring is upon us - I know many are starting to garden. I thought this site had a lot of good info.

65 Cheap Healthy One Dish Meals - She has a list of links to some a variety of one dish meals.

Low-Cost Kitchen Crafts Ebook for FREE - I haven't had a chance to look at it but a FREE ebook is always worth a look to me

I am going out of town and won't be back until after Easter. I hope to have the spring cleaning lists ready to go and post while I am gone. (Crossing my fingers I have time to get those ready.) If not, then I will get to them as soon as I get home. If you have any questions, please leave a comment on a post and one of the other wonderful ladies will be happy to help you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

MQM: What makes it service?

What do you feel is the difference between just having to clean house and serving domestically? I have to clean house no matter if I am owned or not so what makes it serving if I had to do it anyway? I had to buy a gift for his Mom even if I wasn't owned by him because he is a man and gift buying usually falls to women. I do crafts for me because I am enjoy them so what makes it a service to him? It is hard for me to wrap my mind around that I am serving him by doing those things.

For me, it's not specifically what I do, but the why I do it.

You know... I gave a local talk about service, and someone grumbled about halfway through "this sounds like housework to me". And I was actually taken aback because for me, it's not. It's about being useful to someone in a way they specifically value or permit.

When in service, I don't clean because 'it has to be done'. I care for the boss' home in the manner which pleases him. His tastes dictate what I do. I base decisions on either his directly stated preference, or to make something more convenience/pleasant/comfortable/less stressful for him. If he doesn't like something, I don't do it again-- even if I liked it. If he doesn't care how something is done, I may default to my general taste on how to get a task done, but I do so knowing that could be vetoed at any time.

If I am buying a gift on someone's behalf, I am well aware that my selection reflects on them. I would not presume to purchase anything as a gift for someone else simply because he's a man and I am a woman.

I provide that service because:
A) it's desired
B) I have more experience comparison shopping than someone else might
C) they are too busy or... can't be bothered
D) it's a way to free up some time for them
E) I wrap better than they do
F) we both enjoy the display of my usefulness

I do crafts for me, unless he specifically tells me to serve him in that way. It's not a service unless he makes it so. But it does afford me some relaxation and entertainment, and generally I've found the people I serve encourage that interest provided it does not interfere with my service to them.

In her answer, kaya wrote: "Having to do it is not the service. Having to do it in a manner that pleases him is the service." I could not express this better.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

March Question Month: Tasks

"What is your favorite domestic task and what is your least favorite and why."

My favorite domestic task is organizing. It really doesn't matter what I am organizing either - a draw, a cabinet, just a little space in a room or the whole room. I like going through things - throwing things away, finding ways to repurpose, donating and at times just finding better solutions to where they are and how they fit in a space. I like finding just the perfect basket, jar or other storage solution to make things neat.

My other favorites include vacuuming and making the bed especially with clean sheets. I like the lines in the carpet when I vacuum. And I like making the bed because I like the feeling beneath my hands as tuck the corners in and fold back the sheet and blanket at the top, fluffing the pillow. It makes the room look neat and smell good.

My least favorite task - just one? Okay I am trying to decide between washing the floors and putting away clothes. I like folding clothes just as kaya described in her post. But putting them away - the closet and drawers can only fit things just one way to make it all fit neatly so I put it off as long as possible. It is the one place no matter how much I organize it - there is never enough room.

I also don't like washing the floors. Main reason is me. I am not a neat cook at times. And so it is inevitable that moments after I wash the kitchen floor, I spill tomato sauce on it or flour and sugar. And next reason is we have pets and it doesn't matter how often I sweep and wash the floors, there is cat hair or paw prints.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review: Wine, Food and Friends

Wine, Food and Friends by Karen MacNeil

When I picked up this book, I didn't realize that this author was a host of a PBS show of the same name as the book. I did do a search for the show to see if they carried it on our PBS but it looks like it is a canceled show. I now wish I had read the book earlier as I really enjoyed the book and feel I would have enjoyed the show.

I would give Wine, Food and Friends 4 out of 5 stars. I was looking for a book that had specific recipes and suggesting a wine to go with it. And MacNeil did exactly like that.

The layout of the book is great. It is divided into seasons and then has 6 to 8 themed menus for each season. Such as for Autumn it has these menus: Autumn Light, Homestyle Supper, Asian-style supper, Casual Harvest Dinner, Flavors of Fall, Moroccan Nights and Classic Thanksgiving. At the beginning of each menu she tells you which wines to pair with all or some of the courses and why. The food and recipes she picks are perfect for the season. And all the recipes are from Cooking Light.

She picks very specific wines and even includes images of the label. She has little side bars of tips and little tidbits about the wine. And at the beginning of the book she has general charts about pairing wine with certain foods plus a quick guide where you can look at the chart and see Pinot Noir and see which recipes in the book go with a Pinot Noir.

My main problem with the book is that some of the wines she picks are very pricy and she doesn't offer alternatives. I wish she would have done more wide range. She does do menus with low-cost wines but one of her menus has wines that are $75 and up. And no alternative for other wines in other price ranges. I know I could probably pick a wine that is similar - such as if she recommends a chardonnay out of my price range I could pick another chardonnay but often she has specific reasons why she chose that chardonnay so that might not always work well with the meal just pairing it with another chardonnay. And then another problem is that I not sure I could always find a substitute at all as they are just one of a kind type of wines. But overall the recipes and the pairings are great. And it is a book I would enjoy having on my bookshelf.

March Question Month: Service

Patty said...

What do you feel is the difference between just having to clean house and serving domestically? I have to clean house no matter if I am owned or not so what makes it serving if I had to do it anyway? I had to buy a gift for his Mom even if I wasn't owned by him because he is a man and gift buying usually falls to women. I do crafts for me because I am enjoy them so what makes it a service to him? It is hard for me to wrap my mind around that I am serving him by doing those things.

For me, it became a service to him when I stopped being in control of the how, when and where of it all.

Before him, I was a single mom and you're right, I had to cook and clean and shop for myself and the kids. But I was in control of it.

I could clean one room and then quit for the day. Or I could spend 4 hours tackling one messy closet. I could do nothing and order pizza for dinner if I wanted to. We could eat at 5pm or 10pm. I could leave the dinner dishes until I felt like doing them three days later.

I could rearrange furniture, change decorations, not mow the lawn, cook whatever I wanted however I wanted. I could not make my bed, do laundry once a week, put the clothes away if I felt like it.

It is all about control for me because I can't do any of that stuff anymore.

He expects a clean house, the entire thing, every day. He expects the bed made every day. His laundry washed, dried, folded and put away in a very particular manner. Dinner is cooked every night and on the table at a certain time unless HE decides to eat out.

Having to do it is not the service. Having to do it in a manner that pleases him is the service.

I don't do a lot of crafts, and when I do, I'd say it's more for myself than a service for him. The only time it feels like a service for him is when he tells me to make something as a gift or specifies how he wants something made because he has a certain person in mind to give it to. At least if I'm crafting things as gifts, I'm (probably) saving him money and that is certainly a service to his wallet. ;)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Favorites

How to cut up a Chicken - it includes a video as well as written instructions.

1 Chicken 17 Healthy Meals - A chicken always stretches out into so many good meals. And Cheap Healthy Good give you 17 Healthy meals with 1 chicken.

Reuse a Cardboard Toilet Paper Roll - I remember my Mom always doing this with toilet paper rolls (minus the fabric.) It is the fabric though that caught my eye but I think contact paper would be really good as if you had it on the counter and food splattered on it you could wipe it off.

Polaroid Place Cards - I just love this idea. I wish I had a Polaroid camera now!

Design Sponge Before and After - this a before and after is of a home and I love the changes they made. Wow such a transformation. But really what caught my eye was the great headboard and the wall behind it - wow! I want! Please!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Turkey Burgers with Cran-Apple Chutney

I like to try new recipes atleast once per week, but lately haven't been cooking anything all that new and exciting. So today I was looking to change things up a bit, but didn't have very many exciting ingredients in the kitchen. Since I was looking for something to do with ground turkey, I found this Rachel Ray recipe that I would definitely make again. It was so simple, and yet super tastey.

•3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
•1 small red onion, chopped
•1 tablespoon ginger (about 1/2-inch piece), peeled and grated
•3 McIntosh or Gala apples, cored and chopped
•1/2 cup dried cranberries
•3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
•3 tablespoons honey
•Salt and freshly ground black pepper
•2 pounds ground turkey breast
•1/2 cup parsley (about a handful), chopped
•3 tablespoons chives, chopped
•1/2 tablespoon thyme, chopped
•2 tablespoons grainy mustard
•8 slices extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese
•4 sandwich-size whole grain English muffins, split

Pre-heat the broiler.

Place a medium size skillet over medium-high heat with one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the onion and ginger to the pan and cook until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the apples, cranberries, cider vinegar and honey to the pan with some salt and pepper. Cook the chutney, stirring occasionally, until the apples have broken down and thickened, about 10 minutes.

While the chutney is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat with two turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons. While that's heating up, in a bowl, combine the turkey, herbs, grainy mustard and some salt and pepper. Combine everything with your hands and form it into four patties. Drop the patties into the hot pan and cook through, about 6 minutes per side. Wash your hands after handling the raw poultry.

In the last minute of cooking the burgers, lay two slices of cheese over each burger and cover the pan loosely with foil to melt the cheese.

While the burgers cook, place the English muffins split side up onto a baking sheet and toast under the broiler until golden brown (keep an eye on them so they don't burn!).

Serve up the burgers by placing one patty onto each of the four muffin halves. Divide the chutney between each burger and cap them off with the remaining muffin tops

Folding a Fitted Sheet

After I fold my sheets, I put the flat and fitted sheet plus the pillowcases inside one of the matching pillow cases. I then stack those bundles in my linen closet. I used to have a problem when had all the stacks of different sheets they would sometime fall over. And the same happened with the pillowcases pulling the ones I wanted out of a stack. They would become a tangled mess. And I don't have that problem now. I just pull one bundle out and know it will have everything together.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


One of our favorite items around here is fresh naan.

The base recipe is the master bread (no knead) recipe adapted from “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day,” by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François (Thomas Dunne Books, 2007).

Base Recipe:
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour, more for dusting dough
1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not with an airtight lid. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks.

For Naan:
  1. Because the dough is damp, so sprinkle a bit of flour onto the dough before using scissors to snip off a ball about the size of lemon. If you want larger Naan, cut a ball of dough about the size of peach.
  1. Sprinkle your board and your rolling pin with flour, and roll the dough to about 1/8” thickness. Make sure your cast iron pan is super hot. Add about a teaspoon of butter and swirl across the pan to coat. Drop in the dough.
  1. Cover the pan. My skillet doesn’t have a lid, so I use a cookie sheet. Take a peek after about a minute. If you see dough bulging up, it’s ready to turn. Cook the other side for a similar amount of time.
  1. You can use a portion of the dough, or if you’re feeding a crowd, all of it. Whatever you don’t use, just recover your bowl with plastic wrap (leaving just a smidge of an opening to allow gas to escape) and stick it back in your refrigerator.

March Question Month: Tasks

"What is your favorite domestic task and what is your least favorite and why."

My favorite is doing laundry. And with 6 people in the house, that's probably a very good thing. I do a lot of it.

I'm not sure why I enjoy it so much. It's just that putting it in dirty and stinky and taking it out clean and smelling fresh makes me happy.

I'm not a terribly precise sorter, I tend to sort more by person's clothes than by fabric. I really like being able to have one person's clothes in a load at a time, though I will combine if I need to fill a load. Other than that kind of sorting, I wash whites in bleach and hot water and everything else in cold.

I'm all about saving money on laundry. I make my own detergent and cut dryer sheets in half. I don't use a fabric softener, unless I pour some vinegar in a load of towels, because I don't like for the clothes to be scented at all. I just like them to smell clean.

My least favorite chore is putting dishes away. That chore just seems to be such an immense time waster. It's probably the easiest and fastest chore to do in the whole house and I hate it anyway.

I don't mind washing dishes or drying them but unloading the dishwasher or emptying the drainer is one of those things I drag my feet to do. Lots of times, I delegate that chore to the kids as they'd rather unload than load and I'd rather load than unload. The only bad thing about that is that I'm particular about how the dishes are placed in the cupboards so I tend to go behind them and rearrange anyway.

Great question! Thank you. :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

March Question Month: Tasks

"What is your favorite domestic task and what is your least favorite, and why."

I would have to say that my favorite domestic task is polishing silver. I love the way my silver service all looks when it is polished and put away. It shines like nothing else in the house. I also love that it is something that only needs to be done 4 times a year, with touch ups when we are planning to use it (in between the times when I take all the pieces out and polish them). I think part of my love of this also is because the silver that I own is from my grandmothers on both sides of the family and it is an heirloom that I treasure. So taking the pieces out and caring for them is as much an act of love as it is a household task.

I would have to say my least favorite domestic task is cleaning floors. And well we have a LOT of floors in our home. We have mostly hardwood floors, and they are dark in color and no matter how often I clean them they show every speck of dust, dirt, etc. Add to that all of the mess a 2 year old can make, and no matter how quickly you clean the floor, there are spots that need to be redone before you can ever get them all clean.

That being said, I dry mop (usually with a swiffer) the floors daily and heavy clean them once a week. I used to do them twice a week before having a small child, now the effort simply isn't worth the outcome, so I use that time to do other tasks instead. Once a week for heavy cleaning is plenty to keep our floors looking nice. Of course if company is coming, then there is always that last minute floor doing as well.

March Question Month: Tasks

"What is your favorite domestic task and what is your least favorite and why."

My favorite task is scrubbing the bathroom.

For one thing, I find it relaxing to get my scrub on and often use the time to think while I clean. A bathroom is small enough that I can have it scrubbed, mopped, aired out, wiped down from ceiling to baseboards and mopped very quickly whenever the mood strikes me. (As opposed to some other chores where I run out of steam about halfway through and I'm stuck with a room that looks like my closet exploded)

The other reason is that like my bedroom, I prefer to keep my bathroom uncluttered and serene. I'm big into bubblebaths and pampering. So I keep my bath area airy, full of white space, and as spa-like as possible.

I air it out/sweep/wipe down nightly, and mop/scrub down twice a week.

My least favorite task is dusting, especially if the home has a plethora of knickknacks (aka dustcatchers).

Anything dust related plays up my allergies. I especially do not enjoy cleaning ceiling fans/air vents where the dust falls on me. At the same time, I'm squicked out by ceiling fans with an inch of dust hanging off the edge of the blade, so it's actually the first thing I dust in a room. Then I work downward (from ceiling to floor) before I vacuum.

Thanks for the question! I'm looking forward to hearing what others' enjoy, or don't.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Review of

Our order arrived on Friday. It took 5 days but most reviews from bigger cities seem to get things overnight. It came UPS and it was in a good box but some things I enjoyed about the packaging....

They had the Earth Aware packing pillows so more friendly for the environment. There was no wasted space in the box. You know how you will get a huge box from Amazon with one little thing in it. Well that is not the case with they packed it very well.

The liquids were packed in a ziplock together. And then the powdered items were in another ziplock. And they even taped down the cap on the one bottle. But nothing was spilled. The powdered stuff was sprinkled in the bag but not that bad. And that happens even when you pick them up in the grocery store so not a big problem to me. I just really liked that it was packed with such care.

They included a little sack of free samples. It had granola bars and 2 other things I am not remembering at the moment.

The cost on all the items we bought in this order were lower than what we would have got at the store. applies coupons so 3 of the items had coupons taken off the original price. I also was able to order something I can't get locally - washing soda. Our box weighed 14lbs and that would have cost a pretty penny to get it shipped but with you get FREE SHIPPING so there was nothing about my experience with that I didn't like.

The other side of the box says Everyone needs an Alice and I think they are right. I know we will be ordering from them again.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Drop Cookies

These are a cookie that I sometimes make at Christmas. But making a few changes would make them good for St. Patrick's Day. Change the food coloring to green and maybe sprinkle with green sugar. Or another candy that you can think of that would be good for St. Patrick's Day.

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 squares (2 ounces) unsweetened chocolate melted and cooled slightly

2 cups confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
dash of salt
Few drops of red food coloring
crushed peppermint

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare Cookies: In large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In another medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and beating well after each addition. Blend in chocolate. Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until firm. Remove Cookies to wire rack and cool completely.

Prepare frosting: In medium-sized bowl, combine all ingredients except candy. With electric mixer at low speed, beat until of spreading consistency. Top cooled cookies with frosting and sprinkle with candy.

Servings: 4 to 6 dozen depending on size of cookie you make

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Favorites

Celebrate with Cake: Icing a Cake - not only good tips on how to ice a cake just and overall good blog.

Make Your Own Work Table Out of a Pallet - I really like this table - looks easy to make. And with spring coming and people preparing gardens it would be a good garden work table.

Need a Weekly Meal Planner, Grocery List...? - Cheap Healthy Good has compiled a list of links to weekly meal planners, grocery lists and price book.

Creative Uses for Kitchen Scraps

Home Basics - Cleaning a Ceiling Fan Video - This is a very quick video of how to clean a ceiling fan. We have one ceiling fan in our home and I do what they do except I don't lay down newspaper because I clean it first and then clean the rest of the room so any dust that falls get vacuumed up.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

One Pan

Sunday mornings is one of my favorite we just have a tradition. (I am not saying routine as that sounds mundane and Sunday mornings isn't mundane). We start our morning out by making breakfast together. It started because when I first moved here - there were a few breakfast things that I couldn't make but he could. Such as I couldn't fry an egg nor could I make "round" pancakes. I can do both of those things now but our tradition stuck so that we make breakfast together every Sunday. Though I have to say he is the one who mostly makes breakfast on Sunday. It is something he likes to do and just has some Sunday brunch specialties - that are just his thing. So I asked if I could share one of his Sunday recipes. When his family camped as a boy, they had this dish. They called it One pan but we use more then one pan when making it.

It isn't much of a strict recipe but more like guidelines. It is so easy to make variations of it too.

1 lb Ground Pork or Turkey Breakfast Sausage - browned
1 dozen eggs - beaten
1 bag frozen hash brown potatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare hash browns according to skillet directions on the package. Season with salt and pepper.

When the hash browns are mostly browned, add the cooked sausage.

Beat 12 eggs and pour over hash browns and sausage. Stir in and allow to cook. Stir every so often until finally cooked all the way through.

Serve! I like to serve in bowls with a little cheese on top. But also some salsa tastes good too.

A good variation is to saute onions, mixed bell peppers and mushrooms and mix in when adding the sausage. Or use ham or crumbled bacon. It just is easy to make this into whatever sounds good.

Serves 6 people. We have left overs for breakfasts during the week.

Download and Print: One Pan

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Review: Homekeeping Handbook

Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home by Martha Stewart

I finally got around to reading Homekeeping Handbook and I have to say I want it as a reference. Even though I feel Home Comforts by Cheryl Mendelson will always be my first go-to book, I still enjoyed Martha Stewart's book.

So I am going to be doing some comparison to Home Comforts. Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook has a lot of handy-dandy charts and photos both in color and black and white. Home Comforts has illustrations and sketch drawings but no photos. It does have charts but because Martha uses color in her book the charts have color elements in them to make them stand out more.

Home comforts feels, to me, more in-depth and more of an actual reference where Martha's is more of a handbook despite the size of the book. And example of this is that Home Comforts had information about bacterias and dust mites and things of that sort where Martha is just like "clean this." Home comforts I think sometimes gives instructs as though the person reading the book has never cleaned and I like that. Martha does that at times in sections and other times it is just like I said "clean this." But doesn't tell you how.

Example of Home Comforts being more thorough.....Martha does 2 pages on setting a table. Home Comforts does 8 and half. But then Martha does her sections different then Home Comforts and actually probably makes more sense. She has after setting table - little things on table linens and storage, then names all the different forks, spoons, glasses, storage and care for chine and flatware - and Home Comforts does care and cleanness in another chapter and has 1 illustration of all the flatware and their names. It does a list of what china that one needs. But then care for it and storage are in another section. Home Comforts goes into food more too - cooking a meal, food storage, what foods to have in pantry. Martha does some of that too but not so as extensively.

As I said above Home Comforts will probably always be my go-to book but I still want Martha's. I like how it is laid out. It breaks sections off into - Room by Room guide, throughout the house cleaning manual, comfort and safety, moving manual, material guides and references . I like the charts. Even as big as it is - easy to flip through and see charts about something interesting or something you always wanted to know.

Just an example of photos and illustrations in from Home Comforts and Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook....

Table Setting Illustration from Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House By Cheryl Mendelson

This illustration has several settings - for breakfast, meatless and several informal settings. It also has formal settings on the next page.

Photograph of two table settings from Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook: The Essential Guide to Caring for Everything in Your Home By Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart's book has black and white photographs throughout such as this one for table settings. It only has two examples of table settings everyday and special occasions. I think in most instances that what most of us would use. But there are times we do want to step up the service and Home Comforts to me will give you better examples of how to do that.

Some quick pros and cons of Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook....
* this book is huge and although has a great amount of useful information but because the book is so big it is often hard to find it
* if you are a Martha Stewart fan the photos in this book aren't as lavish but didn't really expect them to be for a "handbook"
* if you clean at all - most of this information is probably already something you know

* it has pictures and charts
* set up to make a guide that can be used more easily than Home Comforts
* Martha Stewart always has good practical information as well as information to take things to the next level in cleaning and keeping a house

I do want this book to be a part of my home references. I have a few Amazon gift certificates so I think I will be using one on this book soon.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday Favorites

With St. Patrick’s Day approaching on March 17th, I thought it would be fun to focus this Friday Five on recipes, crafts, and all things having to do with this fun holiday that is not just for those who are Irish. To me on St. Patrick’s day, anyone can be a little green. has some amazing St. Patrick’s Day Recipes. Some that I have found to be tried and true on this particular festive occasion are: St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be the same holiday without some traditional Irish Soda Bread. This bread is so yummy that you don’t just need to make it once a year. This super easy yet incredibly tasty corned beef dish has only 3 simple ingredients and is easily made in either a dutch oven or slow cooker. You won’t regret trying this one out. The Guinness gives it a rich hearty flavor. While the recipe doesn’t mention it, I also like to add cabbage to this recipe to cook while the corned beef is cooking as my family enjoys the cabbage as much as the corned beef. I love the Kaboose site not just for it’s really great recipes for all sorts of holidays, but because it gives celebration tips and tricks, crafts for kids to do relating to various occasions, games for kids to play etc. Just something to really round out the entire holiday experience.

And in the interest of “being green”… I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some better planet living websites, for ways to “go green” one step at a time. What better time to start then on the ultimate green holiday… St. Patrick’s Day This site offers ideas from little to large on ways to make your home, community, and over all planet a nicer place to live. Lots of interesting bits of information. There are plenty of things on here that I wouldn’t dream of changing, but I have found some great things that I can change with ease from searching this site. The green guide offers information on everything from purchases to traveling green. Lots of great information for those who wish to leave less of a carbon footprint on the world around them. Although I have found this site to be a bit more political than I would like, there are some great pieces of information to be gathered on changes you can make in order to help make the planet a healthier place to live for you and your loved ones.

With that I hope that all of you enjoy a green beer, or green glass of wine, perhaps some corned beef, and some Irish soda bread. Enjoy the day and think of ways to make little changes in your life to make your world a bit better of a place to live. Go Green!!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Winter Shoe Care link

DSW shares some great tips on winter shoe care.

Speaking of which... I need to go shoe shopping. :)

Meat Pockets -- a good use of leftovers

It isn't very often that we use leftovers in our home as S is not all a "leftover" type of eater. But if I can find a creative use for leftovers so that they don't feel like leftovers to him then he is all for it.

Recently I had made a large pot roast in the crockpot and had a bunch left over. So this is what I decided to do (I'm only sorry I didn't take pictures of the finished product as they turned out super great!)

I chopped up all of the left over meat, potatoes, carrots, and onions into nice chunky pieces and froze them in an airtight container.

Monday I defrosted the container and on Tuesday I made Meat Pockets for dinner. These are really easy to make, any type of left over meat & veggie could be used for them, and they were super tastey, so much so that our two year old even enjoyed them. And she is hard to please! I served them with a spinach salad and it rounded out the meal.

Recipe for dough: (made enough dough for 7 pockets)
1 package yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
3 cups flour (approximately)

Dissolve yeast in warm water; add sugar. add oil, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Beat for 3 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Knead the dough. Place in greased bowl for about 10 minutes to rest. Cover the dough while resting. Roll out dough. Cut dough into 6 inch circles. I used a biscuit cutter for this but really you could simply separate it by hand.

You are going to place your filling in the center of your 6 inch circle. Fold dough over to form a half moon. Seal edges with either egg whites or with water. (egg whites will give it a shiny seal, water will not) Prick edges with a fork to form a good seal. Bake until lightly brown.

You could serve this with any left over gravy you had on hand, or even spagetti sauce depending on what you stuffed them with.

If you don't want to make your own dough you can certainly by premade pizza dough from your local grocery store. It would turn out well using that also and would be a quick & easy meal on a night where you were super busy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

March Question Month

So here are the rules....ask any question related to Domestic Service and one or more of us will answer your question. Please feel free to ask multiple questions. No limit!


I love spring cleaning. This process lets me let go of the winter blues and greet the spring with a clean slate. It’s hard work for sure, but deeply satisfying.

Usually when I think of spring cleaning, I think of… well, an overhaul. Scrubbing out the aftermath of winter when we’ve been housebound more than usual, washing window screens and window treatments, cleaning behind all the major appliances, washing the walls and airing out the house. And danae’s compiled some outstanding checklists to help keep that process organized.

But this year… I’m going to ramp up to Spring Cleaning with a few other overhauls.
  • De-cluttering the calendar: I prioritize my time and activities to make sure I am using my time effectively, and give myself enough time to recharge. I also build some time into the schedule to get outside and enjoy the breezes and sunshine with a walk or workout. Most importantly, I make sure I get enough sleep on a regular basis- even if I have to schedule it in.
  • Spring cleaning the PC: I set aside an afternoon to do a backup, defrag, virus check, security patch updates, organizing my desktop and any loose files that need a home, deleting anything outdated (or uninstalling unused programs). I also remove any RSS feeds or groups that I no longer have time to read, catch up on emails, and make sure my contact list/address book is updated and backed up.
  • Checking expirations on cosmetics and medications/vitamins: I do this two, maybe three times a year, primarily because I love makeup and have a terrifying amount of ‘stuff’. Here’s a good rule of thumb for cosmetic expiration dates. I also purge vitamins and supplements as needed, as well as items in my first aid kit and medicine cabinet. I put out the oldest items in front, so I use those up first.
  • Freshening up my hair and makeup: I usually make major changes in spring, whether it’s cutting my hair, adding in a few highlights to chase away the darker winter tones, switching to brighter, sheer colors in cosmetics or just wanting something fresh and different. When I switch over to my warmer seasonal clothes, I take a head-to-toe look to see if I’m where I want to be. I also try to take a critical eye to my mirror and make sure I'm not in a rut... (What would they say to me on What Not to Wear?)
  • Unconditioning: I’ve found my winter hair conditioners and moisturizers are not always my best choice for spring/summer. Usually, I switch to lighter lotions instead of body butters and often find my conditioner is too heavy in the warmer months.
  • Detailing the car: I normally wash my car weekly, and vacuum/wipe down inside twice a month. But in the spring, I do like to spend the time on a deep clean/detail (or dropping it off to get done :) It allows me to really examine the car for any damage (especially if you are in cold climates, where the roads are treated during icy/snow conditions) or other contaminants such as tree sap/bird droppings that might affect the paint. And I can shampoo/condition the interior.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ham and Bean Soup

We have ham at Christmas time and then I freeze the ham bone to make Ham and Bean Soup. Mine turns out really thick though more stew consistency than soup. I am not sure I have ever had ham and bean soup that was really soupy so not sure if I am doing it right or not but it tastes good.

Since we weren't here on Christmas though we had ham later so that I could still make Ham and Bean soup. And although we have had some spring-like weather - I know it will be cold again before spring actually gets here. So that cold weather will call for warm comfort food such as Ham and Bean Soup.

I use the following brand of beans and they used to have 15 bean mix with the ham flavoring packet it in it. But they have a Cajun packet in it now.* So I switched to the Great Northern Beans. And have done it with the great northern before I just prefer the 15 bean mix. I get this brand of beans at Wal-Mart but have seen them at other grocery stores too.

*Editing at 11:13 - I was just at the store and they have the 15 bean mix back! Of course after I already had the great norther but as I said they taste good too.

1 lb bag of dried white beans (great northern)
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can chopped tomatoes with liquid (small or large can)
4 carrots - peeled and chopped (optional)
2 celery stalks - chopped (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 cups chopped ham or a 1 lb ham hock with ham
pepper to taste
5 cups chicken stock or water

Soak beans over night in water. Rinse and remove debris before using. Add all ingredients to slow cooker. And cook for 6 to 8 hours until beans have reached the desired tenderness. Take out bone and if any meat still attached shred into pot. Remove bay leaf. Serve.

* If you use HamBeen's, you can add the packet with the rest of the ingredients. I would then use water instead of chicken stock as the packet with the stock adds a lot of salt. And the stock is used for flavor but the packet adds your flavor for you.

* Carrots and celery are optional ingredients because often I just use what I have on hand. And sometimes I don't have them and the ham and bean soup taste just as good.

* If it is too watery for you, take out 1/4 of a cup to 1/2 cup of beans and smash them. Add a little flour to the beans and then mix in some water or milk before adding back into the crockpot. It usually takes 15 to 30 mins for it to thicken up some.

* If it is too thick, add more water.

* Leftovers freeze well


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